Happy Monday, folks. Well, I’ve had my coffee and have succombed to the morning, so it’s happy, but more so because I say it is. Plus, I woke up. That’s a bonus.
It seems my emotional state has been heightened lately. Maybe that is partly from not living on our own yet. I love his folks but not having your privacy takes it toll. And maybe part of that is being away from my kids. Maybe not being away, but realizing that they are all adults now. They don’t need me like they use to. They still need me, of course, but now it’s different.
I became a grandma in September 2012 and again in April 2013. Seeing my boys with their own children…that’s just a crazy feeling. People tout how great it is being a grandparent – and yes, it is all that but there’s another level that is often overlooked: seeing your child become a parent. The look in their eyes when they hold their child. The concern in their voice. It brings back memories of when I held them. And now, look at them, holding their own.
Mom use to tell me that you always worry about your kids, no matter how old. Man. Was she right. I pray for their marriages, for their kids, for their health, for their jobs, for the ability to make good decisions and cling to their faith. It’s never ending. And yes, Mom was right. The worry gets bigger as they get bigger. It’s no longer just a matter o worrying if they will scrap a knee or get their feelings hurt at school…
We also hear oh so often how “I’m turning into my mother/father”. Well, I definitely feel like I’m looking through different lenses. It’s like I’ve crossed another threshhold. Like when I watch my kids with their kids; I think to myself “So this is how my Mom felt.” It makes me miss her. My older siblings do not know how blessed they were. I was 33 when Mom passed. (And in that instant, I turned 5 again.) She didn’t get to see my grandkids. She didn’t get to meet Dave. She didn’t get to see me overcome my addictions and really make something of my life. I believe she is still around me. Albeit not the same, I find comfort in believing that she visits and knows how happy I am and how far I’ve come. I believe she sees that all the prayers she prayed for me, worked.
I guess what has gotten to me is, the realization that time doesn’t stop. Some threshholds are bigger than others… I can recall hollering for my mom to watch me do flips on the clothesline pole. I remember her opening the back door and hollering for me when I didn’t want come in from the rain. I remember her disappointment when I was caught playing sick at school and she had to come pick me up, when I stayed out past my curfew, when I dropped out of school. I remember her walking into the hospital room the day I gave birth to my first child. I remember her in her wheelchair, being there for my first college graduation. I remember that call at 4am that she had a stroke…I remember seeing her. It didn’t look like her. I remember her hospital bed in the living room and sitting on her bedside, crying when she asked what I wanted after she passed. Some day that will be me…I can only hope that I have a slue of grandkids, a book of stories, and all the aches and pains that come with age. And I can only hope that I’ve instilled good values in my children who will pass them on to their children, who will ultimately carry it forward after I’m gone. Maybe that’s why I’m so into photography. It’s a way you can stop time. Capture a memory, share it and relive it.
So, what’s the moral of this post? Heck. I don’t know. The old cliches just don’t seem to cut it anymore: ‘Live life to the fullest’, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’, ‘Give it all you’ve got’…when we reach the end, who knows what happens next. All I know is, we will all makes mistakes. We will all have some type of regret. We will all fall down and hopefully, we will all get up better than we were before. We will all have good memories and yes, they will be sprinkled with some bad. I guess the moral is, own it. It’s yours. Take photos. Document your life. Leave behind something good. Be grateful for today, be grateful for yesterday and for as many tomorrows as you can get. Embrace the good and the bad and all the treshholds of life. It’s over before we know it.
Posted in Clarity, Reflection
Tagged children, death, end, faith, grandkids, growing up, happy, joy, life, looking back, love, memories, memory, moral, photography, photos, regret, sad, sadness, scary, some day
Well. I was woke up early today. Thought it was my alarm and ignored it like I’m programmed to do. Lol. My second grandson, Noah, was born 4 1/2 weeks early. His lungs are under developed but his weight is good: 5 lb 2 oz. Please pray for him to recover quickly.
Little bug, Noah
All this has brought a flood of emotions and tears. It amazes me how we can love something so much before even meeting them. Little Noah looks like his daddy. The majority of our stuff is still packed and stacked in boxes in the garage. Wish I could get to the album that has Noah’s Daddy’s baby pictures in it. I did have a couple on my phone. Mind you, these are pics of pics so the quality sucks, but, the emotions are still there.
This is all three of my bundles, back in 1993 when my youngest was born. So tiny. 5 lb 9 oz. My kids kept shrinking: 8lb, 1 oz; 6lb 13oz; 5lb 9oz. Lol. I look at this photo and I’m transported back to the hospital on that day. Couldn’t see her the first couple days because I was sick…that was so hard. Amazing how I can transport myself back to that hospital on all 3 occassions. I can recite the hours leading up to their birth, the hours following, but I can’t remember the exact pain. I know it hurt, but I can’t fathom it like I can the emotion I felt holding each one. God does that on purpose. We recall the best, the best. The scars fade, even if we know they are there.
Any who. I keep getting distracted. The point of this blog is just to share the unconditional love of parenthood. The innocence of infancy. The wonderous emotions that come along with being a parent…a grandparent. I look back and I can see all the things I did wrong, but likewise, I can see what I did right. Without my faith, I would’ve gotten no where. I praise GOD for watching over me…and I’m proud of myself for having faith and pulling through the rough times.
I wish my Mom could see this…me being a grandma, my children becoming parents. Her birthday was 4/4, she passed 4/20. Noah wasn’t due until 5/22. I know my Mom would be honored that Noah was born in her birth month. Out of 30+ siblings, neices and nephews, only my brother shares the month with her. And she would just love his name. I know she’s around me, but I’ll always miss her. I guess, what I want to close with is this: today is a day you’ll never get back. Only in memories. So make the most of it. If you regret today, be better for it. And if it filled with a great memory, cherish it. No day is guaranteed. Time has this way of continuing…
God, please watch over little Noah and his parents. Bless him and guide the doctor’s so they can ensure his healthy recovery. Tell my Mom ‘hi’ for me. And tell her I’m sorry for all I put her through when I was young and stupid. And thank you, Lord. Thank you. For everything. ~Amen
So. It’s a gloomy 8:13am in middle Georgia. The sky is spewing rain yet the air is warm. The trees are drenched and the puddles in the driveway expand. Grumbles of thunder loom in the distance. The rain stops and the birds start to sing. A couple of them zoom in on a puddle and start to bathe themselves. Spring flowers dot the landscape, just beginning to emerge with their bright and bold colors; an amazing fragrance fills the air. The green of the trees is enhanced as drips of water hit the moist ground. Then, the rain returns. Life is great. That’s pretty much it.
I guess that’s all I really want to share today: life is great, even though to some it may not appear to be. I am amazed at how great my life has turned out. I’ve had some pretty rough patches. I’ve been knocked down so many times in so many ways, but all that, all that has brought me here, to this amazing time in my life – and I am so incredibly thankful you cannot imagine. No. Things aren’t perfect, but, that’s the beauty of it. Nothing is horribly wrong, nothing is even remotely wrong. There is nothing in my life right now that I fear, and for that I am grateful.
You’ve all heard that life is what we make of it. True, but it goes much deeper than that. If you want something, you have to believe. If you want something, you have to work for it. Ok. Some people don’t work for it, which I think is a shame, because without working for it, you don’t gain the appreciation of having it. This world has become too ‘gimme’. We are a society who feels indebted, as if we somehow earned happiness as a birth right. Well, we haven’t. Some don’t have it as hard, some have it worse. While it may seem unfair, life has this natural balance. It’s hard to ascertain a person’s level of happiness just by looking at them or reviewing their bank statements. We all do it, but stereotyping someone is the biggest fail. Some emotions do not have a face. They are felt so deep inside that they are hard to judge. Just because someone has money doesn’t mean they are happy. Just because someone smiles, doesn’t mean they are happy. Just because someone has ‘things’ doesn’t mean they are enjoying life. Some of the wealthiest people are having the worst time of their lives. Wealth isn’t in ‘things’, it’s inside. That’s what makes us unique. Some people do not look deep inside, the expect happiness to follow them, to come to them in the form of another person. I’m learning that ‘happy’ is a state of mind that starts inside. Peace isn’t the absence of pain or trials, it’s knowing who you are in the midst of it. It’s working for what we want and appreciating who it makes us in the process. For all I have inside, and out, I extend my deepest appreciation.
Thank you, Lord, for watching over me. I ask that you watch over my children and help them to succeed in this life. Show them true happiness that does not fade. Shower them with your unfailing love like You do the flowers and the trees. Thank you for the nuturing you provide my soul. Thank you for helping me become the person I am today, for the realization of what greatness lies within me. Thank you Lord, for the beauty that surrounds me, even if at times I cannot see it as clearly as I do now. Help me to continue to grow and be this person I always knew was here. Thank you for forgiving me and loving me through my faults. And thank you Lord, for the rain, and the sunshine.
Posted in Clarity, Motivation, prayer
Tagged appreciate, appreciation, children, gratitude, happy, love, power, rain, sunshine
So, usually I have some type of epiphany that leads to a post, but not today. Today I just want to write. A lot has been going on lately and at times I just feel plain overwhelmed with it all, but, then there’s that still small voice that reminds me to stay calm, stay on track, be focused and keep trudging forward. Eventually there comes a moment where I can pause and look back…I made it!
It’s hard to watch our kids grow up; they know everything…ironically, just like we did at their age. Gone forever are the days of being a youthful sponge and “I can do it” transforms into “I’m gonna do what I want.” Sometimes it’s like watching a wreck as it unfolds. There’s nothing we can do but just wait it out and pray they are wearing their seatbelt.
In this phase of life we find a new appreciation for the endurance our parents had with us. But, we had to learn in our own way, on our own time. Our parents kept faith in us, or at least tried, and they surrounded us with prayer – in kind, we keep the faith, no matter how hard it gets. We remain at their side in some fashion, no matter how distant…even if they don’t realize we are still there.
This is the cycle of life. Up. Down. Pause. Reflect. Repeat….just maybe not always in that order. (lol!) Life is like a rose garden: full of beauty, demanding of work and dotted with thorns. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘life’s downs are temporary’, but I’m here to tell you, the ups are temporary, too. That’s why we are supposed to enjoy them to the fullest. We can’t have all sunny days – how would the grass grow? How would the trees provide shade? What would we have to drink? The rain is necessary. The sun cannot always shine, yet, it can’t always rain either. Life is a series of balancing acts. A series of ups and downs, decisions and reflections, joys and sorrows. Just as the rain rejuvenates the Earth, so do our troubled times. They help us grow as humans. They challenge our perceptions and keep our brains in motion. And we will continue to grow no matter our age, no matter our status in life. Maybe that’s why in times like these, I miss my Mom…
Yeah. I actually find that funny. My Mom was a very compassionate person, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes when I would call her she’d simply tout, “Well, what do you want me to do about it?” Loving? No…and yes. That’s what I needed to hear sometimes. Often we put ourselves in positions that no one other than ourselves can dig us out of. And I’m a firm beliver that when we do the work, we appreicate it a hell of a lot more. I may not have gotten showered with hugs and kisses or ‘I love you’s’. I may not have always received the best advice, but it made a huge difference knowing she was simply, ‘there’ for me. A sounding board if you will, yet…sometimes she got me out of a bind when she shouldn’t have. She listened too long and helped me too much (yes. That IS possible.) I accept my fault in that..it only hurt us both: prolonging the lesson for me, and the pain she must have felt as she helplessly watched the wreck unfold. Yet, I’m better for it now. I finally did ‘get’ it. And hopefully, someday we each ‘get it’ on our own accord just like I did.
This reflection reminds me that I just need to do the same: be there even when what I have to say or do is tough. Listen but don’t enable. Encourage but don’t demotivate. Love but don’t smoother. My Mom did the best she could with what she knew and that’s all I’m trying to do. Ican humbly admit that I am not perfect – nor do I expect to ever be – but I am the best ‘me’ I know how to be. Our goal in life should not be the pursuit of perfection, rather, to do the very best we are each capable of. I can’t fix it for them; I can’t always pick them up. All I can offer is my love, my advice, my shoulder or my ear…whichever is more appropriate at the time. My Mom taught me it’s not always best to throw out a life raft or spread out our wings for shelter. Life has a cycle that we each must experience on our own. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. It doesn’t mean I’m not here. And it definitely doesn’t mean I love you any different…we just each need a little time, standing in the rain.
Posted in Reflection
Tagged be, best, children, choices, compassion, compassionate, do, guidance, help, humble, kids, love, mom, mother, pain, perfect, perfection, prayer, rain, reflection, stress, suffer, support, talk, tender, tough, worry
Oh, my dear invisible blog reading friends, it’s been awhile. My apologies. But, nevertheless, I am back. And again, I find myself pondering which topic to write about. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately so I figured it best to let the creative juices flow via my keyboard. I’m not sure where this is going so, pour a little more coffee, put the phone on vibrate and enjoy the ride.
Isn’t it amazing how life can be going along just as decent as you please, then all of the sudden you are side swiped by an event you never saw coming? It happens to all of us. Life is full of brick walls that must be torn down or climbed. Being a parent is not a requirement, but in times like these, you better buckle your seat belt because it will rock your world in unfathomable ways.
Not just my daughter, but one of son’s has given cause to buckle said belt lately. I don’t want to go into specifics, but let’s just say we don’t wish these things on anyone. It’s easy to shower a child with love and even easier to make excuses; it’s when the parenting becomes a job that many fail or fall short. You cannot love them out of their predicaments, and unfortunately, they cannot always learn by example: they have to experience it themselves. Sadly enough, sometimes in witnessing these choices we are reminded of our own poor decisions in youth and we discover a new appreciation for our own parents…something that for me has occurred quite frequently throughout my ‘adulthood’.
We can fall prey to becoming the enabler – which is the worse thing for them and everyone involved. No one wants to watch someone fall, especially a parent, but sometimes we must. If we continue to throw in the proverbial life preservers we are only preserving the action that got them there in the first place. If they never experience consequence for their actions, the lesson is never learned. Life is a series of tests that we will take over and over again until we learn them. And even then, we will have surprise pop quizes to ensure we have retained what we’ve learned. (Ain’t life grand?) We can repeatedly instill in them basic morals and concepts but it’s up to them to ‘get it’. Some will get it when they are children, others well into adulthood…some never. But that’s not up to us. We are responsible only for our own actions. In being role models in living out our philosophies.
We have now what we call a generation of entitlement: “I want it. I get it.” They don’t deserve or earn these privledges or materials but they get them anyway. And who is to blame? Parents? Society? The percentage of children with phones, games, and name brands is expotential compared to any generation before. I get it that we want to spoil our children, but come on! Some things need to be earned. If ‘Johnny’ is failing at school, the last thing he needs is a vehicle to puruse the streets as he wishes.
And what happen to discipline? The metal locker hallways amplifying the echo of a paddling was terrifying to me as a student. Sure. I had “Attention Deficit” but that paddle was much more effective than any form of medication. Not to mention the price I would pay when I got home if I had gotten into any trouble. That paddle was nothing compared to what my father was capable of. What do we have now? Oh. That’s right. Detention. Oooh. I’m scared. Whatever.
I’m not saying we have to be hard asses to our kids, but what I am saying is: we have to demand respect as parents FIRST. I could care less if my child considers me their friend if I don’t have their respect as their mother FIRST. No. I’m not perfect. Some of my choices flat sucked but I’ve done and am doing the best I can with the knowledge I have. So did my folks. They did things I didn’t agree with and I have resolved to never be like that. But that’s how it works. We are supposed to take that knowledge from our childhood and use it to improve ourselves when it is our time to be the parent. That’s the natural cycle.
I guess I’m just trying to encourage other parents like myself to resist the path of least resistance. Yeah. The easy road feels much less stressful at the time, but I’m telling you, if you travel down this path thinking it’s going to be all pavement and straightaways, you are only kidding yourself and as a result inevitably hurting those you love the most. That road ahead is full of potholes that take much more effort to repair and bridges that once burned, can be near impossible to rebuild. Anything worth having is worth working for and that includes parenthood. Buckle your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.
Posted in Motivation, Reflection
Tagged bridge, buckle, children, cycle, decisions, difficult, discipline, encourage, entitlement, experience, faith, family, friend, friendship, gap, hard, hurt, kids, learn, lesson, life, love, natural, pain, parenthood, parenting, path, repair, resolve, respect, road, seatbelt, stay strong, stress, stressful
This morning I slept in as much as I could and man did it feel good. I did get up for a little while but was fortunate to have the ability to drift back off to sleep, not having to leave the warm confines of my bed except for a quick excursion to the bathroom. I figured I’d get accustom to sleeping late by the time my vacation was over. Mission accomplished.
I finally decided to rejoin the real world around 2:00p. (Nice, right? Don’t be jealous.) I submerged myself in the hottest bath my skin could endure and allowed my mind to wander. I kept going back to my Mom. Not sure why…I don’t really give it much thought anymore. It’s commonplace for me to have fleeting thoughts about her. I know I’ll always have a part of me that misses her, yet the adult part of me always knew she would go first. That’s the natural cycle of life. We are supposed to outlive our parents. I would much rather mourn her passing then for her mourn mine. And I don’t really mourn losing her anymore…she’s in a better place and she no longer hurts; no longer has the burdens of this world. She left behind a legacy of lessons and displays of love that no one can erase. In my heart, I know she continues to have a great soul and surrounds me on occasion just to see how I’m doing and watch over me…thank God she can’t barge in my room and make me wake up anymore.
Anywho, I want to write and amiss the myriad of thoughts and steam, it hits me. All my thoughts finally come together. I see that avocado plant I wrote about before on my window sill. Funny how all the activity is occurring under the water. (I know there’s a word for that but Google failed to pull through; alas, it’ll just have to eat at me all day.) Above the water it still appears as just an ugly, dead brown ball. But it’s not. It’s fully alive, waiting for its time to sprout forth vibrate green shoots. It’ll happen. I know it. Just like my Mom knew it would happen for me. She had this uncanny sixth sense for me. On several occasions she would call me in the morning and ask me if I was okay. Of course, that would be the exact day that something had happened. I would cry and spill my guts as she explained she had a dream and knew it was about me. She never really had any solid answers. Or so I thought. Honestly, sometimes it really ticked me off. How could she know so much but not have the answers?? She would just tell me to love my kids and hang on, that it would all make sense in time. At that time though, those words just cut a little deeper. I didn’t even know myself yet. I was more concerned about the now – what was above the waterline. But, I finally caught on, Mom. I realize you were looking at the inside of what was forming in me…what I was capable of, while I was too busy looking all around me at what was going on – or not going on – oblivious to what was forming underneath it all.
Looking back, I realize life was molding me: growing my roots, so that one day, when it was my time, those green shoots would be healthy, sturdy and strong. I have learned more about myself in the past three years than I ever have. Over my lifetime, I have been to places I never want to return, I have learned valuable lessons…most the hard way. Yet, these last few years, I’ve walked the road less traveled. I’ve carved my own path, learning about myself along the way. I have discovered my hobbies, the things I love to do, the things that make me – me. And I’ve learned that we should not allow anyone to rob us of those qualities. When you meet someone, you don’t stop being you. If you do, you better pack up and start running. Love brings out the best in us, it never subtracts the good.
You’ve heard me say this numerous times, but love isn’t meant to complete us, it’s meant to compliment us. Yet, if you do not know yourself, how can you expect to find that kind of love? We cannot expect someone else to complete our puzzle. That is our job. Love is never selfish, yet it does start with ‘self’. Genuinely knowing how to love ourselves is the key to being ready for love. When you know yourself, you are already complete. That missing puzzle piece is your Self, and once you find that…it just a matter of time until everything else falls into place. It’s just a matter of time until you find that special ‘one’ that enjoys the whole puzzle with you. Then, together you enjoy finding all the ways of how your puzzles fit together. You know what compliments you and what doesn’t. You know what works and what doesn’t. What you want and what you don’t. You are open to a whole new experience of love and realization. I once only dreamt of what real love was like…and let me tell you, I’m beginning to recognize that true love may be even grander than that. True love is not something that can be contained in a dream.
I think that’s what my Mom was trying to tell me. Let the roots grow. Invest in my Self and my kids. As I learn about myself, the dream will naturally transform and materialize on their own, without my help, without my intercessions. Like any rebellious child, it only took me 40 years to listen but I’m so glad it finally sunk in. I finally get it, Mom. Thanks for continuing to be a vital part of my life. Thanks for all those subtle lessons. And thanks for all those extra ‘five more minutes’…and I know…it’s time to turn those weekday alarms back on…then I can go play pool. 😉
Posted in Clarity, Motivation
Tagged burdens, child, children, complete, compliment, courage, discovery, doubt, dream, endurance, good, intercession, learning, living, love, mold, mom, mourn, mourning, never, parents, passing on, puzzle, rebel, rebellious, roots, sacrifice, self, sixth sense, sleep, sprout, subtracts, time, uncanny, vital, wonder
Sitting in the sun with the afternoon moon,
Recallng where I’ve been and not going back soon.
I know why you’re there, just a reminder that echos.
In a history of pain that’s vacant of heros.
A heart that can’t love, knows no tomorrow.
But I’m alive and I’m shedding this sorrow.
Sitting in the shade with the afternoon moon
Replaying my past like a rerun cartoon
Excuse me for waiting, excuse my concern.
Not gonna rush, a hard lesson to learn.
Hands on the stove are gonna get burned,
a heart that can love is one to be earned.
~ Angela Nichols 10/29/10
I’ve been noticing the moon in the daytime a lot lately…yet again, I get this tug that this is something I’m suppose to see. And I feel it. I think it’s a reminder that darkness is always looming and, quite honestly, necessary. How would we know we were in the light if we had nothing to compare it to? How could we make the hard decisions if we had nothing to gauge the implications?
If there were never a consequence attached to our actions, we would never desire to change, to make things better. I often see this correlation with childhood and adulthood. What we didn’t learn as children, we get to learn as adults. If your parents never taught you to manage money, adult life will give you a reason to see that you need to. If we weren’t loved enough as children, we grow up not knowing how to accept or give proper love as adults…and through the rough patches, through the heart break and breaking of hearts, it’s something we will learn.
If days were always perfect, we could never appreciate them. So, as life progresses we come to realize some of the habits we’ve developed in life and it makes us feel inferior, flawed, unworthy. Welcome to Club Reality! Everyone has them and having them makes us no less of a person. It’s what we do with it from there. Just like an addict or alcholic has to at some point say, “Damn. This is destroying my life. I need help.” We must accept the fact that we have flaws, then with God’s help, work through them to become better. Lessons have to be learned at some point. We should only have to burn our hands on the stove so many times before we say “ENOUGH“. If you continue to think you’re not to blame, that you don’t have to change…expect more of the same. We’re not on the playground anymore. We can’t talk ourselves out of detention. We can’t expect someone else to bail us out or continue putting up with us. We can’t keep touching the flame expecting that it won’t burn us. We have to remember, to a degree, where we have been to avoid returning there again. So look at the afternoon moon…and be thankful for its’ subtle reminder.
Posted in Clarity, Poem, Reflection
Tagged advice, after, broken hearted, burn, child, children, choices, club, counsel, encouragement, enough, freedom, God, grow up, healing, healthy relationship, heartache, help, hurt, inspiration, let go, letting go, listen, love, moon, noon, obedience, patience, peace, reality, relationships, sacrifice, self realization, self reflection, spiritual, strength