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Big Decisions ~ Tough Choices

So I’ve been talking with y’all about a job opportunity that has come up outside of the home. I’ll be honest, I’ve been agonizing over the whole thing since it came up. My immediate response was to get excited….very excited. And that was the first thing that made me pause. Due to past circumstances, I don’t “hope” for a lot of things; not getting attached before it actually happens ~ hurts less. Those who understand that need no further explanation, and those that don’t well it’s hard to explain it in that case….

So I had to figure out why I got so excited. Done. Then I had to assess the pros and cons as some of you recommended. That is when it got complicated.

I WANT this job. I could do this job and excel at it!! I might even be able to add insight into it and make the program stronger. I would be administrating the whole thing eventually. Also, I would be able to easily finish my degree since schooling is the perk of the job. No other benefits, but even the hours are not that demanding to start. Money is good too, I won’t lie. There has been this hunger to do this for a long time. Circumstances have pulled me twice, for two different reasons and at two different times, from this exact thing. I have a burning need to prove everyone wrong and finish what I started. I was unfocused and adrift at that time in my life, struggling with burdens I no longer bear and I take back to the task some wisdom and strength I would not have had either. I believe that will make my school experience mean something more important and vital to myself. I want to prove to MYSELF that I can do this too. Doubt is a powerful prison but it can be a powerful fuel as well. So that one is about me. What I want and need.

Then I turned consideration to my children. They have paid the price with me the last 5 years. The hell of step-parenting, my being so ill, the stress of so many family members gone for one reason or another. I’d be trading the complete and now unimpeded focus of my attention for their last chunk of time as kids, lose my last chance to do what we tried to do from the start and possibly lost the chance to help my daughter tame this wildness inside herself as well as fail my son breaking my own silent promise to him. He only has 5 years left and she only has 8. Time has taught me those will be gone before I know it, even if I’m paying close attention. Don’t they finally deserve my healthy attention? My not sick, not stressed, can participate daily attention?

You bet your ass that I have fought for them. You bet I took care of them day and night since they first drew breath. But I was a single parent for the first chunk – no choice but to work though it tore me up to realize other people were in essence raising my kids. I’ve been sick as hell to the point of nearly dying the last 6 years – like literally in the hospital every other month or so till about 7 months ago and now that I have the chance I was praying and begging for, am I going to throw it away or tend to my family? God knows D and I have talked about it since the boys left and we are determined not to make the same mistakes with Bubba and Tornado. Yeah…..the scales didn’t just tip there, they slammed down hard to the other side.

After that I thought on it a while. Not the choice I want to make, but the right choice I think. I was swaying towards not thinking it was a good idea. That I was being selfish if I chose myself over parenting again. I tried to go to school again for a while when my son was a baby. Got a full scholarship. It required a minimum of 10 hours of work on the newspaper on top of a full time school load. My son was in daycare centers and homes. We had several bad run ins. Yes, some of the places were fantastic but some people should not EVER be near children. I kept a close watch and popped in at odd times. I caught it each time and it tore me up each time. How could I keep subjecting my child to this?

I quit school again, got a day job and sent him to one of the best centers in the area. He loved it, loves them and even three years ago when we went back for my nephew’s funeral he remembered them and was happy to see them. They were more family than anything and that is a rare find. I’ve also worked at daycare centers and know what can happen. Bubba is too old now, but idle hands we have discovered with the older 3 are the devils plaything. So critical timing on him. Tordado, like I said earlier, is our challenge and if I don’t help shape this, I admit that it could be, more likely than not, disastrous left unchecked into her teens.

We are planning some day trips and stuff with them, as well as gathering camping gear now that we have a permanent storage solution. Less time with other people entertaining them with what kinds of things happen in a small town with bored kids, more time learning what it means to enjoy yourself and build roots with your family.

Then something came up that would send a much needed jolt of instant life into our business and we could be up and running easily. This would require my flexibility at home. An ability to run the home office we have created now that we had an empty room. We would instantly have two people in mind for employees and I would need to handle scheduling for them as well as the increase from our other thing. It would be time to get serious and start kicking butt and taking names. This would include a slower version of finishing my degree. A few classes here and there at night. Not the immediate gratification a fast hard push would have but a battle worth fighting.

We would also be building something the kids are both interested in. My son has the programming interest and Tornado is all over advertising and stuff. It is so fun to watch them developing their different levels of interest so differently from the boys. Had the three of them not lost their minds, they would each be in charge of a division with 1 -2 employees by now. Too bad, because that looks impressive, not to mention they would be making near triple anything they are going to be able to find on their own. They could be making bank and living in nice houses and such but they chose to struggle out there instead which is still hard for us to understand. We are trying to teach Tornado and Bubba as well because it doesn’t make sense to them and they have said as much, more than once.

Building this business back after all the hits we have taken is a battle worth fighting. Ordinary Dad did not push me at all. When I told him about my decision to turn the job down, he listened quietly to all my reasons and supported me. When, and only when, I directly asked him did he express his hope about the job and my wanting to stay here. Though he was the one that put my name up in the first place and brought news of it home. He would have supported me working if that is what I had wanted. And he supports my school desire too for me and for the benefit to our work. He wants what makes me happy and is secure enough to admit he hoped I would choose this, not only for me but for what we promised and dreamed together. So at the end of it, I am sorry to miss this chance ~ I got to see what I would be missing and that the dream I do have was what makes me happy all along. I would miss that if I didn’t understand dreams can change like people do. This is still my dream, it’s just not my most important one anymore. So I feel blessed and I guess I know what needs to be done. What has always needed to be done.

I am not going to rush it either by doing an online version. I will walk the campus, help with the business but first and foremost it is my job, my desire, my humble honor to take care of my kids and my husband. It isn’t my way is right, your way is wrong – it isn’t anything but an honest assessment of what the need not the want is and what is truly important at THIS moment in our lives.

the choice only YOU can make

the choice only YOU can make

Until we meet again, stay safe and be blessed my friends.

 

Not Goodbye…..Until we meet again.

Today is going to be a hard day for me my friends. Three years ago we lost my nephew. He was one of the most special people I have ever had the honor of knowing and loving. He was born with SMA – a severe form of Muscular Dystrophy.

He taught me so much and I won’t forget the lessons from either one. I will teach my children the lessons. Cherish your loved ones, time is precious, don’t get impatient – for this too shall pass, you are stronger than you thought you ever could be, breaking down doesn’t mean broken; but mostly how to love without boundaries.

Those and so many more. I grieve today for the memory of that day. But I grieve the hardest for the little angel who left. Both were senseless, both touched my life in a profound way. A day doesn’t pass when I don’t see those laughing brown eyes and that freckled face reflected in the eyes of my children. Today I grieve. I will never forget.

I miss him with a fierce ache this morning. But I sent my kids off to school and his mother can only cry today in remembrance of the days she did the same. And so it is with humble gratitude that I remember him today and his mother and father as well as our family.

RIP my sweet angel, take care of everyone until we meet again.

 

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For about eight years this day has meant to me what it means now to all Americans. A day of remembrance for the greatest sorrow my generation and those behind me have born witness to. A day when the Nation’s heart broke as one, where our anger and disbelief flared as one, we bled together and shed tears as one. A day when we all stood shoulder to shoulder, division lines gone. It has changed our lives forever.

A year ago today, this day took on a whole new meaning. Hearts broke and tears shed for a great grief once again that could not be contained. For on this day the Lord took my nephew Garrett Allen Buthe, who had turned 10 the week before, into his loving arms and welcomed him home. I could not be at his side though I wanted to badly. We left when my son was 5 1/2 and peanut was just 2 1/2. I had promised my son we would be back to visit, and then four and a half long years had passed and life had gotten away from me, I hadn’t visited like I wish I had. I think they only made it back there once. I inadvertently broke a promise to my son and we both know it. I was able to attend his funeral thanks to the great generosity of a woman I didn’t know, but consider a friend now. She knew Garrett, had been one of his paras in school, and everyone who met him and knew him, couldn’t help but love him. It was the least she could do she said.

I remember this day so clearly….

They were very nearly brothers. Born into a close family and born with a mere 8 month difference in their age. Their fathers were brothers and they grew up as close cousins. I have such fond memories of them all. There was not a single bit of difference between any of them and they all loved each other mightily as children are so capable of doing. Want to play tag? Sure thing. Garrett tears out on his ‘hog’ and Ean and Alexandria join in on their bikes. See, not a bit of trouble. Down Uncle Cory and Aunt Lana’s driveway. The three of them were glorious together.

Ean, baby Alex, and GAB
 Watching them tear into Christmas presents together, or playing at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Going up to the cabin with the family for the weekend in Fall River, where they would swim, and jet ski and boat. Where we would watch fireworks and celebrate the Fourth of July. We would lay on rugs and blankets in the living room of the cabin and watch movies and nap together. And there were always card games. Those days are filled with love and laughter. True they held their own trouble and stresses but there are things I would give anything to have back for even just a day. I will never again hear the sweet melody of the three voices raised in laughter together over something silly. There are things you miss so much and they are the little things that tear holes in your soul and let you feel the lonely wind whistle through.
His parents were and still are fabulous. Not a day went by that they didn’t make every wish or dream of his come true. In his short life he accomplished so much. From bagging a deer with his daddy, to scuba diving, to his Muscular Dystrophy involvement and the sweet love of his mother; there wasn’t anything I can see that Garrett ever lacked in his life. They filled it with all the love and excitement a child could desire. With more patience and endurance than I feel like I could do – they worked every day with him. Every Halloween came with an amazing, well thought out costume to include his ‘hog’. They would all head out together to collect the sweet treats in their grandparent’s sub-division. They parented in a way I wish I could always do. In a way that I will always admire and strive to emulate. And we all love with a desperation born of the knowledge that life is so fleeting and unfair at times.
Ten years ago, I dropped my baby off at the sitter and went into my college classes for the day. I was in school for Journalism at the time and we were in the first class of the day, which happened to be Reporting 101. We heard the commotion as it began, the professor stepped out and got some basic information. The whole class was begging to be let out to go into our press room. Then we laid the argument down that if something of great importance was happening, better than sitting in class reading a book, would be to be out there doing what it was we were meant to do, report. Finally after what seemed like forever we were out and staring at the T.V. The first tower had been hit, and the great dark plume of smoke froze our hearts in our chests. Not a sound was going on in the room. We all stood, eyes locked on the screen, hearts in our throats.
When the second tower was hit, the great torrent of tears poured out as we learned what our fellow brothers and sisters were going through. We watched the fire burn so hot that many chose to leap from the burning towers. We watched their bodies fall. And we cried, we raged, we demanded retribution from the ones who had struck at our souls. On our own soil. Then even more horrible than before, we witnessed the collapses of the towers and when we thought we couldn’t be more shocked or grief stricken, again the tears flowed unchecked down our faces.
The thought crossed my mind that people who were alive for the JFK assassination or the Challenger explosion had stood as a Nation united and grieved. Still somehow I guess I never thought something like that would happen in my lifetime, and you hope not in your children’s either. Yet here it was, that moment for our generation and theirs. We stood united again in grief and confusion trying to sort the pain. The professor in charge of the Journalism program called us to attention and said. This is your moment, you can’t stand here and do nothing. You are journalists, get yourselves together and get out there and get the news.
So we mopped our faces, sucked it up and did. But we also grieved. I sat at a bench watching a group pray around me and the flagpole. I felt a solidarity with them, though I did not physically join them. I thought of a good friend, who I knew was a fireman in New York. He had been an engine chaser when he was a kid, then a volunteer fireman when he was old enough. I knew he was there. And I prayed for him as well as all touched this day. We brought back the news. It was my honor to collaborate with a fantastic editor of The Lantern on the feature article. We cranked it out through tears and sweat. It was a one headline day, a triumph in the journalistic sense, and yet there was no joy in it. For one word was all that was needed to speak the depth of this atrocity.
My son was too young to know at the time, just barely approaching 2. But he was overwrought by it this year, when they talked about it in school for the 10th anniversary. I spoke quietly to him about it, while I held him on my lap, his head close to my heart; and I ached. A decade has passed. A year has passed. It still hurts with a burn that won’t stop. I won’t forget the lessons from either one. I will teach my children the lessons. Cherish your loved ones, time is precious, don’t get impatient – for this too shall pass, you are stronger than you thought you ever could be, breaking down doesn’t mean broken. Those and so many more. I grieve today for the memory of that day. But I grieve the hardest for the little angel who left. Both were senseless, both touched my life in a profound way. A day doesn’t pass when I don’t see those laughing brown eyes and that freckled face reflected in the eyes of my children. Today I grieve. I will never forget.
In Loving Memory
Where were you? I hope you are safe and blessed my friends.

A Million Reasons Why

the way ppl treat youRelationships are hard. Any sort of relationship really, though I admit blood ties complicate things and add a level of guilt that might not otherwise exist. There are a thousand reasons why you might disapprove of or disagree with someone but maybe we are missing the million reasons why we do want them in our lives, all the reasons why we are thankful they ARE in our lives or that give us reason to fight to keep them there, complications and all.

a million reasons

Marriage isn’t easy, life isn’t easy, parenting isn’t easy; whoever started the myth or hope that they were, needs to be read the riot act for sure! Love has been spun into this intoxicating fairytale and gives us such an unrealistic viewpoint and often unreachable goal to shoot for. It paints a picture that just doesn’t figure in the hardships of life and the foibles of us all. So instead of working with what we have we keep aching for this ideal. How damaging is that folks? Just take a look around and you can see the signs. Broken homes, broken hearts and broken lives. Sure we know there is new growth poking up, we know the phoenix will ever rise, but oh the damage, oh the pain that could be spared.

If someone has something bad to say about you, its probably because they don’t have anything good to say about themselves. If we all tried to give others reasons to feel good about themselves, there would be a lot more reasons to smile and visions of peace far brighter than the darkness of insults.

We even sometimes get careless with the hearts in our care, not because we are trying to hurt someone, but maybe because we weren’t paying attention. Careless words sometimes cut the deepest and once said they can only be forgiven, not forgotten. How many scars will we lay upon the souls of others before we learn to weigh our words more carefully? The things we leave unspoken can hurt too. Those secrets we hide that eat us from inside, those fears that we never pull into the light and so they remain scary shadows in the dark recesses of our hearts. They speak a lie to us that destroys the truth in our lives.

It’s all about your focus. Where you place your heart and passion is where your life will follow. Beware that you do not let the negative lead. It isn’t only others I am talking about, we can find a thousand faults inside ourselves or look for the million amazing things. Your inner dialogue is more powerful than you realize, the secrets that your heart whispers can steer you places you never dreamed or leave you stranded in your worst nightmare. Love has a lot to do with choosing to feel that way about someone. There will come some point in time where the shiny fades from the relationship and the person’s cracks and flaws will have you doubting. It is in that moments that you have the choice to continue loving them through the bullshit or bail.

some people

Then there are moments when something has become so unhealthy that it drains the very life from you. A relationship so toxic and unbalance that you ache every time you have to interact. Their behavior never changes, their apologies ring false and their words are hollow. Then and there, blood or not, you have to decide whether or not to prune that from your sphere. Knowing the truth is that everyone at some point in time will disappoint you or let you down, it is the nature of the beast. I don’t say that to discourage you, but instead to point out that perhaps they are not out to hurt you, perhaps their behavior is a reflection of their own inner struggles and pain. Still at some point you have to cease letting them continue to drag you down when the stress and drama become more than the positive.

I know these things because I have had to make the tough choice to cut ties with family and have been judged for it without my side being heard. I have always been the black sheep. I always fought the bonds, the strict control; I’ve always been the seeker of truth behind the beliefs. I asked the questions that made people squirm and have been told to continue blindly believing and following.I wanted to understand. I wanted to light that fire of conviction in my heart and live it.

There came a point in my life when I could no longer do that where I was so I stepped off the path and have forged my way ever since. I am the friend who will tell you how it is to your face, for I cannot stand people who talk behind my back. Please feel free to tell me to my face you hate my guts or think I am a bitch and I will most likely shrug and walk away. But the backstabbing, two-faced BS really makes me hot. I will move heaven and earth to bring the fight to your door if it goes on in secret behind my back. I cannot tolerate a lie. I’ve lived lies too often in the past, I know it is easy to lie to yourself and I don’t want lies and half-truths to become my reality. You perpetuate a cycle in your life when you do that. Sometimes we have to throw off the millstones that others have become in order to truly set ourselves free. It doesn’t mean it won’t hurt, it doesn’t mean you won’t think of them or miss them; it simply means that you love you enough to stop the abuse.

 

your side

Look for the million reasons why inside yourself. Seek them in your truth, seek them in your path and most of all, seek them in others. When we focus on the positive we will find ourselves surprised to see that our attitudes follow. And if life cannot knock that hope out of you, then you have already won my friends.

In closing I just wanted to leave this:

To my friends, my fans & my family (blood & chosen)

To my friends, my fans & my family (blood & chosen)

Until next we meet, stay safe and be blessed.

 

Easier To Run

Pretending I don’t feel misplaced Is so much simpler than change .....

Pretending I don’t feel misplaced Is so much simpler than change .....

If I could change I would
Take back the pain I would
Retrace every wrong move that I made I would
If I could stand up and take the blame I would
If I could take all the shame to the grave I would……
If I could change I would
Take back the pain I would
Retrace every wrong move that I made I would
If I could stand up and take the blame I would
I would take all my shame to the grave

It is easier to run, than to stand your ground when the shit hits the fan. I think what we all really fear is the silence. Because in the silence our insecurities start speaking, they fill us with all of the worst of us. In the silence, misunderstandings are born. It is also in that silence that decision are made. Some we realize right away, and others take longer to sink into our consciousness. In this silence our fears paint pictures that might not be fully accurate; If we don’t ask or tell – then that space is filled with something else, just depends on what your specific baggage may be. We reflexively tuck our stresses and problems inside us where they are safe and yet it is the things we don’t talk about that end up killing or separating relationships. It is easier to flee, to try to leave those things behind us. To admit them takes courage, the kind of courage that I am trying to find within my own heart.

Wherever you go, there you are. No matter how fast and how far you run, you will always catch up to yourself. There is no escape from your emotions, problems or issues. You take them with you. They live in the silence, in the shadows of your heart and they stay there until you deal with them once and for all. And if you keep denying they are there, one night they will catch up to you in the dark spaces in between our conscious and unconscious mind. You fill up your days with all kinds of activity and mostly you can keep your mind out of that deep hole, but in the evening when you are laying your head down to sleep and your defenses are low, they creep around the corners and you find yourself caught up again.

There is so much that remains unsaid, unvoiced, maybe even unrealized that shapes who and what we are. The way you respond automatically to certain circumstances, the way smells or sounds can take you back in time instantaneously; there is no escape. And so rather than be buried beneath it all, you must take a deep breath and look hard at the WHY. We see the what every day, but do you know why you believe what you believe or react how you react? No? Most people don’t even realize they can change the pattern if they figure out what it is that moves them.

I heard it described once as such: those moments in time where you have been hurt, neglected or upset – you freeze and bury those moments – and yet what we don’t realize is that we freeze a piece of ourselves as well. We remain the hurt child, the confused teenager, the bitter adult that we were at the moment that incident/emotion hit us. I’m tired of leaving all this crap frozen in the glacier that surrounds my private thoughts and feelings – and yet there is no safety for me in giving anyone anything that I consider a vulnerability.

That soft spot has been taken and used by more than one person. I started slamming the door shut in people’s faces when I was hurt or wronged. I will write you out of my story quicker than you can blink. I know it isn’t right, I know it isn’t healthy but I KNOW you can’t hurt me if you don’t know. I find myself becoming more and more private with my thoughts. I don’t even talk to my ‘friends’ as much as I used to. Not because they don’t love me or care, but they have their own lives and I can’t expect anyone to wanna dig through all the muck and mire with me. I know my true friends will always have their hands and heart out for me when I need encouragement but I find myself not wanting to intrude or bother people. Maybe that is a lie I tell myself so I can justify keeping my thoughts and feelings to myself. I can tell you that I don’t even tell these things to my husband anymore either.

I feel lost and alone though I am constantly surrounded by people (6 of us in this house plus the kiddos’ friends in and out) and 5 dogs, well it is hard to sit and while away the day in contemplation of how to remove myself from this rut I am stuck in. It pisses me off to no end that I cannot put my finger on why I am unhappy, I have everything I ever wished for and yet it rings hollow. Times are tough right now and I keep searching for answers or meaning.

I want to tell you exactly what it is inside me right now – but I don’t even know, so how can I describe it to y’all? I’m constantly stressed and frustrated and unhappy and nobody knows it but me…….

I am the voice crying in the wilderness of my barren soul praying for rain.

 

 

“The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives.”

Our desires always disappoint us; for though we meet with something that gives us satisfaction, yet it never thoroughly answers our expectation.
~Elbert Hubbard

I have never been the type to sit dreaming of some fairytale ending. I am a dreamer, but also a cynic; which in and of itself is an oddity.  The title is from one of my quotes, Albert Schweitzer says it best. It has a nice macabre sound doesn’t it? Hooray we can all be martyrs now right? Life is one great big Greek Tragedy or a cosmic joke if you prefer. I know it sounds like I have no faith at all but I really do believe in God. I just think his sense of timing and humor leaves something to be desired at times. Honestly, I’m kinda pissed at him right now, I told him I couldn’t handle anything else and lo and behold a 2 ton load was laid in my lap. I’m cracking and the whole God never gives you anymore than you can handle isn’t holding water at the moment. I think at this point I have earned the right to a little resentment. I also believe that he understands when we get that way and doesn’t judge us or hold it against us, that is the whole grace thing. At some point I always come to the end, understanding where and why and maybe even appreciating the complexities of how our prayers, hope or dreams are answered; but the getting there SUCKS!!

We women are put into ‘competition’ almost from birth. We are barraged with visual, written and spoken evidence of our flaws and inadequacies. It is difficult to form genuine friendships with other women because secretly someone is usually comparing or competing and you don’t know who you can trust when your back is turned. There was a time when it wasn’t that way, but I know among my group of friends there are a lot of us that say the same thing; I don’t have a lot of female friends because I don’t like the catty BS. So we don’t play games and are able to relate in an open and supportive way to one another. Birds of a feather and all that jazz….

People hold themselves back from one another in defense and protection. It’s a cruel and harsh world out there. It almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy of doubt and failing. The hardest thing is sticking to what you believe is true and honest while still being able to assess whether or not it is something that requires a shift in those same beliefs. How do you filter the voices? Every time you let someone sway you from what your core beliefs are, a little piece of who you are dies. How do you stop placing your faith in others and take the reins back yourself?

The insecurities rear their heads in our friendships, relationships, jobs, homes and even in our parenting. We doubt ourselves, we question ourselves, we accept blame for things we have no control of. When my own strength fails me, I know I can count on someone always being there. I feel an odd emptiness right now though. One that dries up my words as well as my desire to do anything about what is going on. Yep, good ol depression is setting in. Yet deep within my soul that voice still whispers words of strength and wisdom to me, though I might sit in my anger trying not to hear.

He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places.

The voice says to me: Listen well my child

He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me,
For they were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my support.
He also brought me out into a broad place;

 

 

 

Sometimes, I even resent that little voice. Because if I could pretend for just ONE moment that I was a person lacking any depth, it wouldn’t hurt so badly. It brings me back to the here and now and I just want the voice to go away and leave me in my misery. Is it really too much to ask that I not be a warrior for one day? Why don’t I get to enjoy being a newlywed?

And I'm done hoping that we can work it out,
I'm done with how it feels, spinning my wheels
Letting you drag my heart around.
And ohhh
I'm done thinking, that you could ever change.
I know my heart will never be the same,
but I'm telling myself I'll be okay.
Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger.

I may not see it or even feel it right now, but I will come through this. I just don’t know how right now, LOL.

 

Sunday Reflections ~ To Each of Us A Path

It has been my great pleasure to connect with some extremely good blogs. I have been letting the nudges in my heart tell me which ones.  In doings so, after the storm and all the damage, I came across this blog: Sleeping Through the Storm . I was struck deeply by something she wrote and she has graciously given me permission to share with you  my friends. Directly quoted from her post (please go and check out her blog. She had a striking way of writing.)

“I know I have areas in which I need to improve, habits I want to correct so that I’ll leave this Earth with no regrets. But I also believe that when I leave this world, I’ll enter another where I’ll meet my God. And when I see Him face-to-face, I will tell Him, “I tried to prepare, but I have done nothing that can make me worthy to enter into your presence, nothing except for one preparation–to love your Son who thought me worthy to die in my place.”

We all face the same end. The end of the story is not a surprise–it’s just the journey that’s different for all of us. So are you prepared? Do you know what you believe? And if not, when do you plan to prepare? The storm is coming while you sleep, and there is no guarantee that there will be time to get ready when you wake up.”

I had tried to ignore the voice in my heart. Her post and perspective pushed a beam of light directly into that shadowy place. These are my thoughts after pondering deeply what these words had to teach me. For the whisper had spoken in a loud, firm voice. A voice I could no longer ignore. I have to know where I stand.

Life has taught me lately that it exists in an extremely fragile state. We always remain but a breathe away from sinking into the depths of the unknown. Or being swept away by the tide.
I don’t really spend a lot of time talking about my personal beliefs. Not because I don’t feel strongly about them, or because I don’t have them or understand them. But because I grew up where it was kind of just how it was. We didn’t question and it was just what we learned. I guess when I was a teenager, I really resented it – later I went seeking for the answers myself. Often I find myself once again going back over what I have learned and prodding at what my beliefs are and where they stand in relation to where the world is headed right now.
It seems like there are so many terrible things that are occurring at once, that are of a magnitude we haven’t seen before. I’m not spouting any specific ‘end time’ theory in particular, but I feel something stirring. Lots of people are struggling. Times are hard and money is tight. It adds extra stresses to the ones we already carry  daily. Each day I try to figure out where I fit into the grand scheme of things and where my journey may ultimately lead. I don’t want to talk specific politics or anything like that, but we are in three different wars right now; under a president who was given a Nobel Peace Prize for absolutely nothing. And he bypassed Congress and got us involved in a ‘kinetic military action’, whatever that euphemism is supposed to mean. As our gas prices rise, the American people are pinched unmercifully; while we send millions to Brazil for offshore drilling. Wait, what? Why aren’t we doing this for our country?
All that has transpired in the world, including the Royal Wedding – which seems to have inspired the British as well as the world in general, as a welcome breathe of fresh air. It is very reminiscent of his mother Dianna. Then to be so close to the devastation that occurred during the storms recently, it leaves you wanting to make those connections, to refresh the ties that root us in our lives. Whatever those beliefs are because no matter what, each of us has a different interpretation because we are each unique.
I haven’t actively been part of a church since I left Kansas in 2006. I have missed it once or twice and sometimes with a deep ache that surprises me. I have a close walk that is based in Christianity. My family has been generations of Christians – Catholics and my Grandfather instilled a faith in his children which they in turn passed on to us. Even though I stepped away and back in a different light I feel as though I have traveled the path intended. Because some of my deepest understandings have come from my mistakes.
Try as I might to deny it at times I am a person of deep reflection. I always have been. Sensitive to things that may exist beyond our understanding and in my own private way I have a serious and deep faith. It has changed and morphed and grown since I was young, since I was in my 20’s even. Each layer of truth revealed by the fires that change us, teaches us more, expands our view more. Allows us to lead richer lives.
I believe that at the end of our time on this earth, we will be responsible for an accounting of our lives. Each choice, each action, each hidden truth. I find myself seeking the answer to the question, “What will I say, when asked?”. For every hidden place will be seen, every shadow banished and every door we lock tight thrown wide open for inspection. Yep, it makes me as uncomfortable as you are thinking about that right now…… In light of the disaster I find myself asking if I would be ready right now, and if not, why?
We each need to choose where that truth lies. I try to be open to God no matter what guise he might appear in, or where it may happen. In keeping the gates open, I allow more to pass into my life that can teach and strengthen me. What do you believe? Where is your truth? Even the lack of choice is a decision about where you stand. If the floodgates opened and you were faced with the wall of water rushing at you, what would you tell yourself in those last moments? Where would your regrets lie?
It can happen in the blink of an eye, will you be ready? Sometimes on my journey I feel certain, sometimes I know I’m not as ready as I should be.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this my friends. Until we see each other again; stay safe and be blessed my friends.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. ~Isaiah 43:2~

~It only takes a small spark to ignite a wildfire~

It only takes the tiniest flicker to start a raging inferno again, even if the embers were so dim they could barely be seen. It is there, inside each one of us. Sometimes life hides it from us, sometimes we hide it from ourselves, but it is always there, dormant, just waiting to be revived.

One of my favorite quotes says it best: “Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.”
~Albert Schweitzer

It is human nature to hope, to dream. When that dies something integral to your being is lost. We have forgotten and put aside the fire of our youth, settled into life as we know it now. Citizens, parents, adults and children; there is work to do, chores to take care of and errands to run. We all share the same paths though the destination is different. Some paths cross for a brief moment and others meander deep into the wilderness to give you time and space to figure out your life. People will come and go like the tide and occasionally you will find a gem among the sand as the waves wash away other tracks.

There is a coolness as you dive through the depths – we stop and hover because it feels good. You cannot hover forever in that space between the surface and the depths; you must push forward into the darkness, do not lose hope. For though we cannot see it at the moment, the light still exists. Suddenly, as if it had never been cold and dark, it springs up and encircles us. Yes it hurts at first, for when you go through the fires of life, you are being refined. The burning off of impurities is the only way to become more. If you hang onto those flaws or excuses they will ever be the card you play anytime you are confronted with stepping outside of your zone of comfort. An altogether too familiar habit for a lot of people, including myself if I’m to be perfectly honest.

We fear the burning. We burn, we burned, and we will burn again. Yes there are good fires.Often fire disposes of accumulated debris, enriching the soil by speeding nutrient recycling or retarding the growth of shrubs and grasses that would otherwise crowd out recently planted seedlings. Some of them burn deeper leaving behind blackened husks. The risk of personal ‘errosion’ is the same as the land when a severe burning has happened. It is not a time to mourn, but rather a time to begin planting anew, so that we do not fall to the first storm to come our way.

Now with all that said it is a brutal process, you feel lost, helpless off balance. These are our times of greatest struggle and greatest fear. But it isn’t brave if you aren’t scared right? That is when you must grasp ahold of the flaming spear and thrust it deep into the wound to be cauterized. Are you strong enough?

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

~Dune – Frank Herbert~

We let these fears keep us from cleansing the wound, from replanting after the damage is done. Why do we do this? We let ourselves be immobilized. Frozen and staring as we are burned into cinders. Now is the time, here is the place to stand back up on your feet again and start walking. You will only see destruction if you look at the surface – which is where the fear exists. Take a breath, let go and take the plunge today. Step out of your comfort zone, change the world, do something new; lets set this world on FIRE!!!