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"An old friend...."

 Monday, December 26, 2016

Hello little blog. It's been a while. 
What I'm about to write isn't easy. I've gone back and forth and started and erased a thousand times.  I've shut my computer off and cut it back on and back off again. Ashamed. So very ashamed. Although I don't know why. I can't answer that. 
2016 hasn't been easy. There's been a lot of changes for me personally and those changes left me questioning myself on a deep level. And  it really liking the answers my mind answered with. Soon it wasn't my mind answering those was a deep dark old friend. A friend I fought for years to break ties with. And I did. For a while. But given the opportunity.....he weasels his way back in.....taking up space in your head and heart....leaving no room for oxygen....he starts to suffocate you and makes it near impossible to breathe. 
That's his name. 
Before I started suffering from depression whenever I thought about mental illness, a certain image would always come to mind.
I pictured the Depressed person  to look drained in every sense of the word. I imagined someone thin to the point you can see their collarbone showing beneath the collar of their too-big t-shirt; I imagined messy hair and cold hands; I imagined no make-up and worn-out (grey, for some reason) clothes.
So when the symptoms started showing, I was confused. How could I- someone who spends at least an hour in the bathroom every day to do her hair, who doesn’t go anywhere without her favorite lipstick, who always wears heels, even to go to school – be depressed? That didn’t make any sense. Pretty, well put together girls can’t have that kind of problem. My life isn't that bad. Honestly, what do I have to be depressed about?
Well, it turns out they can. Also, it turns out  depression  has many different faces, not just the stereotypical one that society has instilled in our minds since the beginning of time. 
And while it can look like that sometimes, it can also take a lot of other shapes.
Depression  can look like the woman you see every morning on your way to work, taking her little kids to school and carrying their colorful backpacks; it can look like the elegant businessman who always wears expensive suits and ties and drives a Mercedes around town.
Depression  can look like the funny teenage boy who makes everyone laugh during class with his jokes, the one that teachers love just as much as anyone else; it can look like the fit girl you see at the gym, with the ponytail and abs of steel.
Depression  can be a family father, a rockstar, a nun; it can be black, asian; straight, gay, bisexual; it can be religious or atheist.
Depression  can take any shape and form it wants and that’s maybe what makes it so scary. 
As sad and negative as that may sound, though, it also means that you are not actually as alone as you think you are. Just because you don’t see anyone looking like what you imagine a depressed person should, it doesn’t mean that the people surrounding you are not struggling with their own demons. They might be fighting a battle just like yours.
And most importantly, if you don’t look like what you think a depressed person should, it doesn’t make what you’re feeling any less valid or real.
Some days are good. Some days are  bad. Some days or weeks.... I'm quiet. And some days it's easy to smile while others....the smile has to be forced. Some days I'm withdrawn and some days I'm a social butterfly. It a process. And it took me a while to understand this process.  And I can honestly say, I have more good days than bad here lately. 
In the end, I like to think the ultimate solution to this problem is kindness.
Be kind to yourself, first and foremost: respect your sadness, your bad thoughts, your dark days and don’t be ashamed or scared of the idea of asking for the help you need and deserve. And be kind to others as well, because they might be going through something equally as hard as you are.
Kindness is certainly not a cure, but it is the first step to a more empathetic and understanding attitude towards depression  and those who suffer from it.
But always be kind to yourself. 


"Don't be "that" mom..."

 Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Teenage pregnancy. 
This is going to be a touchy subject. But I wanted to do a post about all the things I went through when my son was born and all the things I hated about how people treated me. But that would be impossible because there was just so much that, quite honestly, ticked me off. I have forgotten most by now. But a few weeks ago, I saw a teenager with her baby at the doctors office. And it took me back to a very lonely and sad time in my life, a time I didn’t think would ever pass. But eventually it did, and here I am, alive and well on the other end, and dare I even say quite happy too. So here’s to all the teen moms out there bravely battling on each day despite all the dirty looks in public, the criticism and uglyness that our messed up society so cheaply offers. Here’s my take on teen pregnancy and why people should get off their high horses about it.
Oddly, this girl keeps looking at me, do I have something on my shirt or a piece of food in my teeth? Or a booger hanging out my nose? I look up but what I see is myself a quite a years ago, and I instantly know why she looks at me like that.

I am what she hoped to be, instead of herself.

I know, because I was once her. You see, today I am the 33 year old  mom, with the wedding ring on my finger, my beautiful baby girl sitting quietly on my lap.....with my nice put together outfit......while I chat to the other moms about pre-school and cute monogrammed clothing and the price of a good family vacation. She, on the other hand, does not get spoken to, instead, people give her a look of sympathy mixed with a little “you should’ve known better”. She doesn’t get asked about her opinion on teething or diapers or anything, because she doesn’t know anything right? I mean she’s what? 17 or 18 maybe? She’s just a child herself right? And she shouldn’t even have a baby yet right? “We shouldn’t feel sorry for her, but for that baby” someone whispers. And suddenly all the rage I used to feel towards these judgy moms comes rushing back.
About this teenager. There are a few facts we should get straight. She is as much motheras me, or you, or any other twenty or thirty-something mom. Because she, long before having given birth, made one of the most difficult decisions that a young girl can ever have to make, she chose to deal with the consequences of her actions despite all the difficulties it brings. She’s not dirty, or wrong or slutty for getting pregnant. She is one of the unlucky few to have gotten pregnant, but she is not the only one who was at risk of getting pregnant. Fact is, if you all are completely all were doing exactly what we were as a teenager....we are just the ones who got caught. But our double standard society makes us believe that only the pregnant teens are those who were sinful enough to have sex. All the thousands of others who didn’t get pregnant, or those who rather opted for abortions, we don’t think or speak of them. We channel our disapproval only toward the pregnant teens. They take the heat for the whole world’s sexually active teens. They get all the judgement on behalf of all the others who, yet not visibly wearing their sins, did exactly the same thing. Girls who opt for abortions do not have to wear a t-shirt reading “I had my child aborted” they get to carry on with their lives and their ended pregnancy is something the can either choose to hide or to share. Likewise all the other sexually active teenagers do not have to wear a t-shirt stating their exact number of sexual partners or how old they were when they started having sex. They too get privacy and dignity when it comes to their sexual activities and habits. But pregnant teens, oh no, they can’t hide it for very long can they? So what happens is, they get all the judgement. All the dirty looks. All the “you should’ve known better” looks. Not fair is it? Well I don’t think so anyway. So let me rant about how unfair this is for just a bit. And let me point a few things out. 
As a mom now in my thirties,  having had a baby as a teenager, and  having had one as a married twenty something year old, I have had both experiences. Now I want to ask a favour from all the other moms. You already know how challenging motherhood can be. You know what it’s like to multitask getting dressed and packing a diaper bag and feeding a little human his breakfast while you go hungry and have your coffee cold an hour later. You know going to the bathroom can be a rare luxury and even a shower is somehow something you ask permission for as your husband has to watch the baby while you do it. You know what it’s like to be so tired you cannot think straight. You know that serving froot loops for dinner is sometimes the best you could do. And let's not forget the M&Ms youbletthem have for breakfast. Now imagine doing all of that (and everything not even mentioned above) as a teenager. Imagine it without the help and support of a husband. Imagine all of it, while constantly being judged. Imagine your opinion and instinct over your child constantly being undermined by everyone simply because you’re young. Imagine people taking pity on your baby as if you were a meth-addict living on the streets simply because you’re a teenager. Not a fun thought huh? So my request to all the non teen moms reading this is simple : Don’t be that mom. Dont judge these girls. These girls are also just moms. Moms who have it so much harder than you do.
They may be young, but age has never been a measure of how good of a mom you can be. They are in the same boat of minority as the forty something year old moms who, for whatever reason, only had kids many years after all their peers. Let’s have compassion for these ladies, whatever their ages. Motherhood is so difficult, and one of the best feelings is having a friend who understands what you are dealing with. Having a baby in my twenties made me realize this, because this time I’m not alone. I was also very fortunate to have a amazing support system behind me. My family stepped in and the saying "It takes a village" is so true. And still true to this day. Some days, even as a 33 year old mom, I don't know how I would survive without the help of my parents and in laws. 
I guess all I’m saying is that it’s not fair to judge a teen mom unless you are going to judge premarital sex altogether. And it is not fair to judge a young mom, if you are not going to judge older moms as well, for both have their fair share of pros and cons for the child. Unless you are willing to take on a huge debate on all the sides to this very complicated topic, just let everyone be and try not to be "that" mom. 
Perhaps we feel there should be some sort of winning recipe to raise a good child, and it’s frightening to consider that maybe our kids will be whatever they’ll be regardless of us and how old or rich or whatever we were when we had them. Maybe thats why we judge so easily. Maybe not. But let us just try and support one another. Parenthood is not easy and everyone brave enough to face it head on everyday deserves whatever support they can get. Aaaaaand that is all. End rant.

Life is hard,  y'all. Let's be a shining light to someone today. 


"Tell your story....."

 Tuesday, October 4, 2016

 Have you ever read a book to a small child as you are getting ready to put him or her into the bed for the night?
It’s a basic story with a beginning, a middle and an end. You’ve read it a thousand times and, at this point, you don’t even need to read the words.  You know those words by heart.  And, honestly, so does the child.
Yet, that’s the story the child picked.  It’s the same story that you’ve read for two weeks straight.
Nothing in the story changes.  The outcome is always the same.  The characters are still the same characters.
And when you get to the end of reading it, you hear something along these lines:  “One more time!” or “Do it again!”
Even from a young age, we love stories.  We love to hear stories.  We love to watch people read them or tell them.
We still love them when we grow up.  Sometimes, we even love to change the story over time.  The fish always gets bigger.  The win becomes even more improbable.  The surroundings become even more scary.
We love stories because they entertain us and connect us.  We love stories because our story is our way of sharing who we are with others.  Those stories connect us and bring us together.
Every story, yours included, is a story worth telling.
In various stages I n my life,  I’ve had the chance to listen to a lot of people talk about the story of their lives.  Many of those stories I encountered began with a statement along these lines (and admittedly, I’ve said this about my own): My story isn’t very interesting.  Why would anyone care to hear it?
But the truth is that you and I have stories.  In fact our stories are filled with the elements that make up an exceptional story.  I came across this list of seven elements of good storytelling and I thought I’d share these with you so that you and I can understand that we do, indeed, have a life story.
  • Every story has a central premise:  There is a theme to your life story.  Maybe it’s that “good overcomes evil” or that “family matters.”  But the individual pieces of the puzzle of your life story will point to a theme if you are willing to find it. If you could describe your life story in a single statement, what would it be?  If you can answer that question, you are well on your way to knowing your central premise.
  • Every story has characters who change over time.  In your life story, you have changed.  That goes without saying, right?  Your beliefs have changed, your assumptions have changed. You’ve learned to adapt and to grow over time.  In your story, the changes that have occurred in you have also brought changes to others around you.  When you compare your life to 10 years ago, 5 years ago, a year ago, etc., what has changed?
  • Every story has a crucible.  A crucible is a place in your story where the heat turns up and where it brings a change in you or a chance in the way you see the world. Life stories can be defined by many crucibles over time.  It’s what happened to you in the early years, the school years, the college years, the work years, the family years, the challenges you faced in the short term and long term.  Where has life turned up the heat on you and how has it changed you?  Those are your crucible moments.
  • Every story has a protagonist who is on some sort of quest. The protagonist is the character that carries the story — the central character.  You are the protagonist of your own story and the quest for you is the life that you live.  Some might say that the protagonist is the “hero” of the story, but in the future, we’ll look at how there is a bigger hero in our stories.
  • Every story has an antagonist of some sort bent on stopping the central character.  Along the way, you encounter something that or someone who stands in the way of you completing your life mission.  Maybe it was someone who said, “You’ll never make it,” and you decided to prove them wrong.  Maybe it was the medical diagnosis, the family challenge, the work challenge.  Maybe your story has a nemesis. Somewhere in your story, you’ve had to overcome the odds.
  • Every story includes conflict.  Maybe, at the heart of it, we’d like to avoid conflict and drama in our life story, but it is there.  It is the conflict and our ultimate response to it that lead us to the changes in our stories.  The conflict in our life story gives us an opportunity to say or do something important.  When we share that story with others, they can hear our life lessons in response to the conflict that we endured and overcame.
This isn’t a new concept.  Life stories show up in so many ways in Scripture. They are a huge part of what Jesus shares in the Gospel and those stories show up in interesting ways.
Take for instance, this encounter from Matthew 
27 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” 28 When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them,“See that no one knows about it.” 31 But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.
Do you see those elements there?
It’s two guys who have been blind and they hear about Jesus and start chasing after him.  They see a possible chance to be healed?  The heat is turned up in their life crucible and Jesus becomes an agent of change in their life stories.
On the basis of their belief, they are healed.  And, despite, Jesus’ warning not to tell anyone, these two hit the street and start sharing their story of what has happened.  And, in the end, more people learn about Jesus and who he is.
Two men.  A lifetime of living without the ability to see.  Two men who had told the same story over and over again.  Then, everything changes in an encounter with Jesus.  A new life story begins and it is one they can’t keep to themselves.  They see their stories as ones that are worth sharing.
Do you see your story that way?  Have you had your eyes opened to something in you?  Have you experienced change, love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, etc.?
Yes, you have a life story. We all do.
And, yes, your life story is one that is worth sharing with others.  Your life story is unique in many ways and, yet, when you tell that story, you will find that it connects with the stories of others.
How could you share your story today?  How could your story make a difference in the life of someone else?
Who might hear your story and ask you to simply, “Tell it one more time!”


"Prideful vs. Being Proud"

 Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Is there any difference between being prideful and being proud? or dare I say ...."Boastful"?

As a coach in a gym, I regularly have conversations with women (and men) about becoming the best version of themselves; often talking about advancing in their gifts and talents. For many women there is a  huge discomfort surrounding success and advancement. The idea that they would feel proud enough of themselves to share their wins...their successes.... hinges on the fear that they may appear too prideful. For many, having a humble posture often feels much more comfortable.  But does that quest to appear humble stand in the way of being successful?  Does quality success always lead to a prideful attitude?

I have a few thoughts.Actually, I have a of thoughts but will simplify them to just a few. Humility doesn’t mean downplaying your talents, accomplishments, or gifts. The challenge comes when we feel our talents, accomplishments, or gifts far out way those of our peers or the ones surrounding us. A healthy humbleness is evident when we are able to celebrate the good talents, accomplishments and gifts of those around us as well.  It’s important to find satisfaction in who we are, in who God made us to be and in the things we do well.

Be proud of who you are! Perhaps you’ve started a business, written a book, started a charity,  earned a degree, mentored others, raised an amazing family, have learned a new skill, lost 5 lbs, having a great hair day, woke up feeling great.....whatever it may proud of it.

C.S.Lewis has a great quote, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

So, what does a prideful person look like?

As a general overview:                                            
    1.  They feel entitled and show a lack of gratitude.
2. They tout their title and interject their accomplishments whenever they can giving little or no credit to those who have helped along the way.
3.  They feel they have arrived and are no longer teachable.  They tend to feel they have all the answers no longer needing input.
4.  They crave the spotlight, the accolades.  What may have started out with sincere motives has now become hollow; has now become a source of identity.

Celebrate who you are and what you have to offer to this world.  Allow yourself to grow in influence and reach by utilizing all the talent and resources you have.  If you have a skill that can be life-giving for others, let them know! Whether in business or personal issues; let people know what you have to offer.
And then, remain grateful and honored for your gifts and talents, appreciate the many people who have come alongside you to help you become the person you are today, and be a cheerleader of others who are excelling in their gifts and talents. Never be ashamed to state your accomplishments. Never.

You will never know if you are being an inpiration to the people you are around, the people you work with....or people you don't even know.

One of the best feelings as a coach is seeing that joy on a person's face when they do what they once thought was impossible. Share it with the world. Shout it from the rooftops. If you can't revel in your accomplishments...then who will?

Be proud of who you are.


"America Divided...."

 Monday, July 18, 2016

 “The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.” 

This weekend I viewed a video clip of an intense moment between police officers and a young man they viewed as a suspect. There was a lot that disturbed me as I watched. There was one thing that stood out above the rest. It was the fear. The officers seemed to be acting fearfully and that is understandable when they face such danger on a regular basis. The young man reacted fearfully and that is understandable when he was approached in what appeared to be an aggressive manner. Fear ruled. It called the shots. It escalated the moment. It made matters worse.

Fear, in my opinion, has become our common enemy no matter where we stand politically, racially, nationally or religiously. Fear is, I am sorry to say, also our common denominator. It is what we have in common and it is also the division disturbance.

There seems to be more to divide us than ever in this time of social media and information overload. I was thinking just the other day how very few people I agree with across the board. What I mean is if I have a friend that I agree with when it comes to child rearing we may be divided when it comes to politics. If I have a family member that I agree with politically we may differ when it comes to matters of faith. If I agree with a fellow church member concerning matters of faith we may differ when it comes to racism. I could go on for pages and pages. You get the idea.

It bothers me when I don’t agree with people I care about. I waver between feeling that if I explained my position carefully enough they would surely agree with me and resisting feeling offended and condescended by those who seem determined to convince me of why my position is obviously wrong.
For a long time there have been some major divisions in this country (and many others) that most are fully aware of. One is racism, another is gender, the other is poverty. We have come a long way in addressing these divisions. I’m not saying we have arrived, but we have made progress.

Now, it seems every day there are new ways to divide us, to sort us, to categorize us, to put each other in a box and label each other accordingly. See her, she believes differently than me so she must go in that box over there. Mark it ignorant. No, that’s too harsh, let’s mark it under-educated. That way we can feel pity for them as we disagree with them and we will not only know better, we will be above such things as labeling others.

There is likely no greater division among the American people right now than that of politics. It’s a whopper. Families, friends, churches are seeing things vastly differently and everyone has an opinion. Thanks to social media, everyone has a megaphone handy to voice that opinion. Whether done in a gentile manner with fancy words that really only emphasize how stupid you believe the people who disagree with you are, or blurted out in crash and rude words that really only emphasize how much you disdain anyone with an opinion different than your own, everyone can speak their mind.

This morning I was reading in the Bible and came across the verse below. Jesus was teaching, preaching and yes, dividing. We don’t like to think about that aspect of His teaching. The fact is, He spoke truth and people did not want to hear it.

“So the crowd was divided about him.”‭‭John‬ ‭7:43‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.” John‬ ‭7:43‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So, here is what I want to say to you and to myself today. If you are struggling with division disturbance, don’t be discouraged, you are not alone. Resist the urge to label other people. Avoid the temptation to convince everyone to agree with you. Refuse to be labeled or label others. Admit that we are never going to all ‘just get along’ and try hard to respect other people’s opinions and their right to have them.

Above all, abandon the fear that would have the hearts of us all. Uproot the fear of those who are different. Believe what you believe and stay true to your convictions, but don’t allow fear to rule your life. Fear, when it is planted in soil that is ripe for growth, springs up eagerly to bloom division and result in hate.

That, my friend is a division disturbance.


"Jesus wept....."

 Monday, June 27, 2016

 John 11:35, the shortest verse in the bible, reads, “Jesus wept.” In context, Jesus is weeping because he has come to the home of Lazarus, finds out he has died, sees Mary and Martha despairing over the loss of their brother, and sees Lazarus’ dead body for himself. In this moment, Jesus isn’t numb to the hurt surrounding him; He feels emotional pain and deep sadness.

“Jesus wept.”

This striking statement, just two words, reveals so much about the humanity of Jesus.

Last week, while feeling a bit helpless and at a loss for a situation that is beyond my control, I did what I always do. I grabbed my bible..closed my eyes..and let the page flip through my fingers until it stopped on a page. With my eyes still closed tight...I laid my finder down on an unknown part of the page. Before opening my eyes, I prayed. I prayed over the verse that I was about to read...whatever it may be. I prayed that it would speak to my heart in a way that calmed me. When I opened my eyes....there it was. 

"Jesus wept"

I had always heard the story of Lazarus...but I never read deep into the story as a whole. I started at the beginning and read. I let it speak to my heart. There is so much more to this story that I didn't realize.

"Jesus wept"
Throughout the Bible, Jesus is revealed to be both fully man and fully divine, but a lot of times I tend to forget that being fully human means that Jesus felt real pain in His life, just like we do.
His humanness ensured that He was not immune to pain, anxiety, stress, anger, or heartbreak. He felt every emotion that we do, which I find to be very comforting. 

"Jesus wept."

When I saw this, my heart felt so much lighter; I realized, or rather, was reminded, that Jesus literally knows exactly how I’m feeling.

So often in my prayer, I tend to focus on the power and greatness and success of Jesus. These images of Him are great for examples of how we can strive to live our lives and give us inspiration to revel in His glory and saving power, but sometimes, we just need to be reminded that someone else feels our pain. We need to feel hope from someone who has felt as low as we do and has risen to joy.

Jesus weeping is a powerful image. You don’t weep because you’re having a bad hair day, your coffee spilled, or because your wifi isn’t working. Weeping doesn’t come from getting our feelings hurt or even when we suffer a physical injury. Weeping is a pretty rare, significant action in our lives, reserved for the times when simple crying just won’t suffice. We weep when we experience heart-breaking, passionate, emotional pain.....Jesus felt just that. His divineness didn’t take away His human tendency to feel hurt and despair, so He knows exactly how we feel.

"Jesus wept."

We’re not alone in our struggles or our triumphs. Reflecting on the humanity of Jesus and His emotions has helped me to see that my emotions are not only natural.....they are beautiful.....necessary, and even shared with Jesus. 

I closed my bible and I wept. I prayed. And then I wiped my tears away and smiled. 

My prayer had been answered. 

"Jesus wept." 




 Thursday, June 23, 2016

[Adjective / Noun; ~ Pronunciation: /non-puh-rel/]

  • Definition: Something, anything, that has no equal, that is unique in its kind.
 "You. Me. Everything we do, like singing in the rain. Or if you’re like me (a terrible singer): smiling in the rain....Because nothing compares to taking a walk in the rain, making it a nonpareil experience."

I am a words person. I love them. There is nothing better to me than being able to express exactly how I am feeling or thinking through the perfect set of words, phrases, quotes...whatever it may be....I love them. I constantly am looking for new words to use. I believe it opens our mind and makes us think beyond just our casual and usual just makes you sound intelligent.

 The weather lately has been rather hot here lately, after all, this is Alabama. With temperatures hitting triple digits on the regular on any given summer day. Sun beaming down...humidity sucking the life out of you as sweat trickles down your back and every little crevice on your body. But then....just when you thought you can't stand the heat any longer....a summer thunderstorm pops up. The breeze starts to blow...the rain cools the scorching asphalt down....the smell of the rain hits your nose...and as quickly as it ends...and the humidity is worse than before.

This is Alabama.

A couple weeks ago, on a rainy day....Bailey and I were stuck inside at home. We couldn't go outside to play and were both tired of sitting in the house. I looked out the window and it was coming thunder...just rain. I had some errands I needed to run and really didn't feel like getting out in the rain....but when her sweet little voice said "Mommy, can we go get some ice cream?"  I couldn't say no.

So I threw on my rain jacket and she grabbed her rain boots.....and out the front door we went.

First stop on list was Wal-Mart. I needed to pick up some things and she of course wanted to look at the toys. We stepped outside of the car and ran as fast as possible to the front entrance....she giggled the whole time. She said "Mommy, lets play in the rain!" I explained to her that we couldn't play in the rain right now...and in the middle of the walmart parking lot certainly was not the place. She got a bit of a disappointed look but it quickly disappeared when I mentioned a small toy...and maybe some chocolate. After all.....she is my child.

We did our shopping and toy looking....and an hour later, we were finally ready to leave. As her and I were walking towards the door, she asked me "Mommy, can we play in the rain?.....Please". By this time we had reached the front entrance and I was putting our rain jackets on....and I stopped and looked down at her tiny hand holding mine, her big green hopeful eyes and that smile on her face.....I looked to the right of me and their was a little old lady watching us with a smile on her face.

She looked at me and said "Teach them to dance in the rain when they are little and they won't forget when they are adults."

I looked back outside...back down to Bailey....and told her "Absolutely."

We walked slowly back to the car....rain still pouring down. I listened to her giggles all the way to the car.....and couldn't hold back my own smile. The rain felt much needed. It filled me with an energy that I had not had in a while. She helped me put out groceries in the car and put the buggy up....and then ran back to the sidewalk at the front entrance of walmart.

We found a huge puddle of water and jumped in it...ran around...looked up at the sky and tried to catch the raindrops in our mouth. we played for a good 10 minutes. We were soaked from head to toe.

I forgot my feet were wet and really enjoyed the sound of the rain hitting my covered up head. A smile had spread over my face and I couldn’t get it off, no matter how hard I tried or how strange the looks people were throwing at us. Playing in the rain is truly a nonpareil experience, as I felt so at peace with myself, so full of life and watching my daughter with not a care in the world...just dancing in the rain.

During our play session, I saw people running to and from their cars, covering their heads and shrieking as if they were melting. The world around me seemed in distress over the wet weather, whereas I was enjoying myself to the fullest. The air was clear and fresh, and there weren’t many people about which I thought was just fine.

My feet were wet, my clothes plastered to my forehead.....but I didn’t mind. The exterior of my 10 dollar walmart raincoat was in dire need of some dry surroundings, but I didn’t mind. Baileys clothes were soaked... but she didn’t mind. In that moment, nothing else mattered.....Because if I had been blessed with a good singing voice I would have been standing in the front of wal-mart, singing in the rain.

Her and I walked to my car and got my wallet out...went back into the store and bought a towel. The cashier told us that she was so sorry we had gotten caught in the rain....and I responded by saying "We didn't get caught in the rain....we had been blessed by the rain".....and we left. 

We did not get ice cream that day.....but I think I gave my daughter something better than ice cream. And she gave me a new perspective.

 I have thought back on this experience often over the last few days....

Life is not always about doing what others do. Life is not always about complaining about bad weather and hiding from it. Life is about accepting what comes onto your path and swinging bad situations around, turning them into an enjoyable experience.

Sure, having rain for days doesn’t do much for your mood. But neither does sitting inside all day long. The rain won’t stop until it stops, there’s no button to press or remote control to grab hold of. You simply have to sit it out.

Don’t let negative external factors throw you off your personal high. Keep going, keep your head up, and learn to enjoy yourself through every situation. Because that’s what makes you truly nonpareil; seeing the good in every apparent bad.

I just keep having to remind myself to dance in the rain every chance I get....even on the bad days....even on the days where I feel like the rain will never stop....even on the days where I feel like I can find no peace.

Those are the days that we will look back at. Those are days where lessons are learned. Those are the days that we have a nonpareil experience..... :)



 Saturday, March 26, 2016

Good Friday is over. Now it’s Saturday.

Saturday. As Jesus’ friends awoke, the day after they watched their dear friend violently die, I imagine it took some longer than others to remember. As the morning sun streamed in the windows, bringing the promise of a new day, their memories of the night before caught up with them. The morning sun no longer held promise. Just defeat.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to end.

How could Jesus leave them like this?

Where do we go from here?

I’ve been there. I’ve lived through a “Saturday” filled with hopelessness. My life wasn’t supposed to look like this. I was supposed to have purpose. Things weren’t supposed to look this way. It didn’t feel as if I would ever find joy again.

Let me ask you, Are you stuck on Saturday? It looks different for all of us. Depression. A soul-killing job. Loss of a job. Illness. Divorce. Death. But one thing is the same, we feel as if God has abandoned us. He’s stopped speaking. Or at least, we’ve stopped hearing. He’s silent. Maybe even…dead.

I will be honest with you here. I have always been honest with my readers. My life has been filled with many Saturday's in the last several months. More than I care to admit. There have been day's that I have made myself smile through the's that I have ignored texts messages and phone calls because I didn't want to have to pretend. Didn't want to have to lie. Didn't want to have to explain.

I have prayed for guidance. I have prayed for answers....Prayed that God would help me find my purpose in life. Often times in life, when you are looked at as an don't want to let the ones that look up to you for inpiration...for that encouragment down. You just don't want to admit that you just don't have it all together. That your life feels like it is falling apart and you are left standing there trying to hold it all together. You are simply holding on by a thread.

You don't want to admit that you, in fact, have no clue as to what you are doing or what you are even supposed to be doing.

As I sit here and type this...I think back on that Saturday after Christ was cruxified. I also can't help but to think the best part of this story is that I know what happens.......The truth is that no day lasts forever. Even Saturday. As Sunday dawned, so did the hopes of the world.

The women came to the tomb. The only ones strong enough to face what had happened. Women, look in the cracks of history, and you will always find us. Doing hard things. Being present at the most glorious moments.

"He isn’t here, he is risen! Go, tell the others."

He is risen!

Everything I believe hangs on this historical fact. He. is. no. longer. dead.

Sunday brings life. Sunday brings hope. Sunday brings the answers to Saturday.

God will not remain silent. Death could not contain Jesus. Sunday will come. And when it does, you can look back and praise him for his faithfulness, even on Saturday.

My Saturday's aren't over. I know there will be plenty more as I learn what my purpose is. I have to remember that through this time of uncertainty in my life.....This time will end. There is a reason for this and he is preparing me for something bigger than I can imagine. He is molding me.....making me lean on my faith...making me trust in him....and only then will he show me the way.

His love is relentless.

Easter is coming, my sweet friends. Let us rejoice in this.


"Just keep pedaling..."

 Friday, January 22, 2016

“People who’ve never read fairy tales, the professor said, have a harder time coping in life than the people who have. They don’t have access to all the lessons that can be learned from the journeys through the dark woods and the kindness of strangers treated decently, the knowledge that can be gained from the company and example of Donkeyskins and cats wearing boots and steadfast tin soldiers. I’m not talking about in-your-face lessons, but more subtle ones. The kind that seep up from your sub¬conscious and give you moral and humane structures for your life. That teach you how to prevail, and trust. And maybe even love.” 
I have been thinking an awful lot lately about lessons I wish I could teach my kids but that, in reality, I know they have to learn on their own – through their own life experiences, by succeeding and failing in their own endeavours, by falling down and getting back up again, over and over and over.
Still, even though there are certain things in life they will come to understand in their own time and on their own terms, maybe if I write something down and they take the time to read it, either now or in the future, while I’m on this earth with them or long after I’m gone, they’ll recognize the lessons more easily when the time comes. Or, at least maybe they’ll know that I love them enough that I wish for them to have this knowledge and the peace that it brings.
So here is the first in what will likely be a series of posts on what I wish my children could know about life right now.
You can do it.
From the time each of us is very little right up until (I imagine) the day we die, we have goals and aspirations ranging from small to big. And, for some reason, there is a voice inside our heads that sometimes convinces us that we can’t accomplish something we want to.
I think the voice has a different volume in each of us and is kinder (or harder) at different times in our lives, but it’s there in all of us.
Khristian, I remember when you were learning to ride a bike…you said, at least once, “I can’t do it!” and you really believed that you couldn’t. You needed to be convinced that you could do it. You needed to be coaxed and encouraged....mainly from PawPaw.  And, eventually, you did it…and, well, Bailey the time is coming that you will do this very same thing....I'm pretty sure it will also be a loud call of encouragement from PawPaw that drives you to take that first ride on your own. That feeling of shocked pride and accomplishment that radiates from your glowing eyes and huge smiles was worth the hours of pushing you on your bike and begging you to just pedal.
As we get older, the things we want to do get bigger and the voices in our heads that say we can’t, get louder. Unfortunately, there’s not always someone pushing us along telling us that we can do it if we just keep trying. So, I guess what I want you to know is that, as long as you’re pedalling, as long as you’re trying to move forward and progress, you can do it.
It really doesn’t matter what it is you want or need to do. Maybe it’s a school assignment that seems to be so much more than you think you’re capable of. Maybe it’s a cartwheel on the balance beam. Maybe it’s making a decision about your future. Maybe it’s a fitness goal that you think you’re just not built for. Maybe it’s saying goodbye to a thing or a person that you know is just not good for you. Maybe it’s beating the bad guy on your new video game. Maybe it’s cleaning your room. It doesn’t matter what it is, and it doesn’t matter what that obnoxious, mean-spirited, doubtful or insecure voice in your head is trying to convince you of… trust me: you can do it.
The most important thing is to start trying. Sometimes, starting is all it takes and you surprise yourself at how easily you accomplished what you set out to do. Other times, it’ll be harder and you’ll get frustrated and that voice will get louder.

Don’t. Give. Up.
You may need to ask for help, and that’s ok. It’s more than ok. It’s brilliant. Don’t ever be embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help. The smartest, most accomplished people in this world know how to ask for help. I know I can’t always be the one you go to…and that’s ok…but it’s important that you ask someone if you need help or guidance or support. And, if that person can’t help you, ask someone else. And, so on and so forth.
Don’t decide not to start something because you’re afraid you can’t finish. Don’t decide a dream is too big before you’ve given yourself the chance to nurture it. Don’t do a poor job because that voice is telling you a good job is beyond you.
Start. Try. Dream. Do.
You will be happier for it. The world will be better for it. And, I’ll be here cheering you on, having known the whole time that can do it.


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