Tag Archives: faith

Before You Know It

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.

Missouri-139-v2 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.

Behind Closed Doors

 

My furry little buddy...

My furry little buddy…

Who would have thought that my cat would give me something meaningful to blog about? Don’t get me wrong. I love my cat. I am a cat person. I just never imagined gleaning valuable insight from a cute little ball of fur.

I got Mazzy back in November 2012. She was one of many Humane Society residents and I just couldn’t pass up her cute little face. She warmed up to me quickly and the same to Dave after I brought her home a couple days later. Sure, she was super curious about her new surroundings when I brought her home, but she didn’t run and hide or act especially fearful from day one. She’s my little buddy. Well, until she decided that using our bedroom for a bathroom was ok…

mazzy 2Hence, she was banned from entering our bedroom. That was easy; just shut the door. She had free reign over the other 2200 square feet of our barren residence and she was much okay with that. Then, we prepare to move. I don’t need to go into that much – it’s a pain. Short and simple. During the heart of the move we put her in the laundry room  to give her a space of her own and no worries to us that she may dash under someone’s feet or get out of the house. At one point I went into the laundry room to say hi and I couldn’t find her. I started to panic, but low and behold, there she was snoozing away inside the washer where I had put a few dirty clothes. She was so cute. My little buddy.

But that’s not where she taught me something. No. That happened in Georgia. Before the first night we decided she would be restricted to our bedroom. Why you ask? Well, keep in mind we are staying with his folks until our house sells and his mom has a fancy for nick-nacks including a beautiful decorated Christmas tree with all the gold, shiny embellishments cat’s enjoy. Yes. The bedroom would do quiet nicely. With a large adjacent bathroom, walk in closet and myriad of windows, she had plenty of space to explore. (Not to mention the accident on night #1 – we would not tolerate a repeat of said accident throughout the abundantly furnished home of people we love who have never had an indoor pet.) Plus, she has tons of toys. Never had a cat that enjoyed her toys as much as Mazzy does – especially the little ones that look like mice and are filled with catnip…she loves those!

At times I would let Mazzy out – always careful to keep an eye on her and her whereabouts. She enjoys sniffing the tree, chewing on fake plants and perching in the windows. Nothing bad or potentially dangerous for neither cat…nor human. A shake of her treat bag or her dinner food would quickly get her running back to the confines of her room. Yes. At times she meowed like a 5 year old, begging to be let free of her large prison. I could see her shadow on the other side of the door just waiting to dart to freedom once we opened the door. Sometimes she would make off like a sprint racer and slip out the door before we had a chance to close it. We’d let her enjoy her successful escape then, shake, shake: “Want a treat?” Don’t get me wrong. I let her out frequently even if just for a few minutes. I would also take her to my office at times while I worked; although much smaller, it gave her a different space to claim. I didn’t want to be her warden by any means.

Dave’s Mom told me repeatedly to just let her roam. I was terrified. I love these people. I don’t want their love for me stiffled because something got ruined by cat urine or destroyed by the wrath of Mazzy’s jaws. But she hadn’t repeated said accident from night #1 and she was being good when I let her out, so I obliged. I left the door open and let her have free reign over the majority of the house.

And this is where Maz taught me a lesson on life. Keep in mind, she’s only had free reign a handful of times. I just went back into the house a little bit ago and where do you think Mazzy was? Under the dining room table? Perched eloquently on the window sill? Dinign on fake plants? High atop the Christmas tree? No. None of the above. Good ole’ Maz was laying on our bed. She looked up at me as if the say “Oh. Hi.” Then put her head back down and enjoyed her slumber. Door wide open and she chose to relax in what I thought she felt was her prison.

So. Where’s the lesson, you ask? Simple. We often wonder what it’s like on the other side. When we are given restrictions, we want what we can’t have.  We may think we’ve been given a small window to escape so we explore and explore and push the limits of our boundaries, but when it comes down to it and we remove what others deem as restrictions, we realize just how comfortable ‘home’ is. The mystery of what lies beyond loses its flare. If we continually tell our kids ‘no’ – they will inevitably want to do it. And when they do it – they will do it with a vengance. Whatever it is. So, we can drive ourselves nuts trying to keep the door closed and wear ourselves out diverting their attempts to escape, but we have to trust at some point. Let them explore, knowing that we’ve made home is a place where they can always find comfort. And if they get stuck in a Christmas tree, well…we politely help them out, give a little lecture and hope they learn from it. It’s hard to learn anything behind closed doors. Shake, shake “Want a treat?”

Just Me….

Just Me

Some days I just want to cry.

Emotions explode, sometimes I know why.

Facing the day, I give it a try.

Smile at the world, head held high.

Inside, invisible, it’s all a lie.

And I’m just me. Just me.

 

If I could open my soul, would you take a look?

Read my thoughts, like an open book.

Would you stop reading or want to know more?

Fall to your knees and hit the floor.

Or maybe run out the door…

But I’m just me. Just me.

 

Fear has followed me throughout the years.

Often disguised beneath sweat and in tears.

My brain it churns like old rusted gears.

Heavy is a heart full of fears.

What a pure heart bears.

And that’s just me. Just me.

 

Letting go is not as easy as it seems,

even wrapped in the arms of the man of my dreams.

You cannot hear yet lest it screams,

Fearing the repetition of heart break schemes,

Or so it seems…

When you’re just me. Just me.

 

Petrified of accosting this wall of pain.

Those before have left their stain.

It’s not what has been lost, but what is to be gained.

And it no longer matters who is to blame.

No. This is not a game.

I’m just being me. Just me.

 

Of my three wishes, this wouldn’t be one.

Yet my experiences are the reasons for who I’ve become.

Fear claws at my confidence yet the fights not done.

Don’t dare count me out when I’ve just begun.

Just gonna be me until this battle is won.

 

I’m just gonna be me. Just gonna be me.

Because that’s all I know how to be…

Just me.

 

~Angela Nichols

8/7/12

Resist the Path of Least Resistance

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.

Every Second Another Smile

I really wanted to blog today. I settled in and tried to accumulate my thoughts struggling with that first sentence, but then this came out. Sometimes, you just have to let it flow…let the heart speak on your behalf. Here goes…

 
If I could let you inside my heart,
To see what I feel
Feel what I see
You would think it was just some crazy dream
Just like I did,
Until you showed up and brought that craziness into focus.
Making sense of the senseless.
 
A part of me always knew you were out there
Through all the hell
Through all the pain
I could not relinquish that dream…
Rather, it would not let me go.
All along echoing deep inside that I didn’t have to understand, only believe.
No one knows God’s plan.
 
I have come to realize there were things I needed to work on
Things I needed to learn
Things I needed to unlearn
And although I may have taken the long way at times
I had to go through those things.
All a part of His master plan ensuring I’d be ready for us.
And I am.
 
I know from here on out we will see the world differently
Every second will be another smile
Every day another memory
And we will appreciate all we’ve been through before
Knowing that it was all purposeful in bringing us to now
Together. Side by side.
And forever I will thank God for you…
for breathing life into my crazy dream.
                                                                                   ~ Angela Nichols

This Isn’t My First Rodeo

Maybe not the best time for me to write…feeling down. Like I’m coasting through life. What the hell is the point? Read another chapter in Max Lucado’s “Facing Your Giants” tonight, about strongholds. Not a super fan of his interpretation as I’ve read this before somewhere else and I liked it much better, but it reminded me of something. 

Stronghold: those things in life that have a hold on us so strong that it strangles the life out of us. Be it addiction, self image, self confidence, control, trust, worry, jealousy, anger – we all have some kind of stronghold that stops us dead in our tracks. It prevents us from making true progress, from enjoying simple things in our lives. We’ve all had it happen. We get so down with our situation and it seems that just as the clouds part and we start to see the sun again -*BAM*- our stronghold grabs us…taunts us…and reminds us. Words echo in our heads as if to tell us we aren’t good enough. That the strongholds are far too strong and we are far too weak. It’s not long before we are right back where we remember being. The devil loves for us to feel there is no way out. I hate that f’n devil…

So, call it a stronghold, a crossroad, an obstacle…whatever face you want to paint on it, the darkness looms. Reminding us of all our past hurts while illuminating the present ones. Yet what did this chapter remind me of? It’s an internal battle; not one that can be fought with guns, fists and bouts of ‘poor me’, but with the Word, faith, friends and determination. I’ve pretty much excluded myself from my friends…and I really don’t want to go anywhere this holiday. But I will. And I’m gonna read even if I don’t want to. And I’m gonna have faith even if I can’t see it like I want to. I’m not gonna fake it until I make it. I’m gonna tell the devil I know he is here, and to get behind me. I may fall, I may cry, but God will be there to catch me and wipe my tears. This isn’t my first rodeo.

(By the way, I didn’t write this today. Feeling much, much better now but thought it wise to share with you when I’m down, too. I tend to think I have to always remain positive for everyone else and that’s just not humanly possible sometimes. I struggle just like everyone else.

FYI: I did go see my family Monday and I enjoyed it. And I spent some quality time with my boyfriend who made me feel so special by letting me sleep in and doing a bunch of ‘honey-dos’ around the house. I am blessed in many ways. The devil loves to deflat our motivation and crush our dreams. Don’t let him.)

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” ~ Hebrews 11:1

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

“In that day you will say: “Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.” ~ Isaiah 12:4

Right Where I Need to Be

Yesterday, as I’m walking into work, I see this small purple petunia. I knew there was a story behind it…then I noticed it again this morning. What’s so special about this petunia, you ask? Well, it was amongst a row of red rose bushes, right there at the corner of the flower bed. Just one stem, one pretty little flower, yet clearly out of place. No. A petunia is not a weed, but keep in mind that ‘anything that does not grow where it’s suppose to, is a weed’.

You may recall my garlic post about the garlic that grew in my front yard – a weed, verses the garlic that we cook with. I have a passion for gardening and a deep dislike for weeds. But I’ve come to find that some things we view as beautiful, just aren’t, not unless they are in their right element. Our beauty flourishes when we are in the right place. Funny. You would think I’d have said weeds are annoying unless they grow in the right place. Either way, the point is the same. 

I think we are all weeds at some point in life. We let our situation hinder our growth. We bloom where we aren’t meant to bloom. We spin our wheels thinking we can force a square into a circle. But we shouldn’t spend our precious time worrying about the ‘what if’s’ – cuz Lord knows, in this world, there are plenty of those. Don’t minimize the journey. The bad times, the trying times…they all have the potential to lead us to the path we are suppose to take. Enjoy the rain and let it grow you as a person. The quicker we realize we are not in control, the sooner God can transplant us to where we need to be.

In case I’ve lost anyone in this post, here is what that petunia said to me: Although pretty and fragrant, I’ve been a weed for far too long, in situations where I was not meant to bloom. As my readers know, I went on a dating hiatus back in June 2010. Through this, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I feel like a beautiful rose. I am blessed and so very thankful; even thankful for the down times because I think there is where I have learned the most. I know what it’s like to feel like that petunia. And I know that it is God’s grace and mercy that transplants me to where I need to be – right here, right now. Stick around. This is just the beginning.

“Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.” ~ Proverbs 20:13

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”~ Jeremiah 29:10-12

“I have found the one whom my soul loves.” ~ Song of Solomon 3:4