Tag Archives: looking back

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.


Life Expects Nothing Less Than All of What We Can Give

Well, seems I’ve had a lot of bonfires this weekend. Almost out of wood. The huge tree in my backyard faithfully sheds just enough to keep me in stock, yet I might need to break down and buy some firewood this year at the rate I’m going. Anyway, I’ve had a lot of things popping in my head I want to write about. Seems that always happens when my emotions are heightened: the need to be transparent. I learn a lot about myself when I write about what I’m feeling; the best reward is thinking that it could possibly help someone else, if only to let them know they aren’t alone. Guess it’s like any good song writer – the best lyrics come from real emotions. You cannot write about something you haven’t at some point, felt.

So I’m outside tonight. The November air is perfect; wrapped in my cozy red housecoat and fuzzy slippers enjoying the flames and some music on Pandora. The scenery is gorgeous – the full moon highlights the myriad of low rolling clouds just beyond the barren tree branches. It made me think about someone, which is commonplace lately. Of course I miss them, and start thinking about the “what if’s” in life…wondering if I’ve done or said all I could and second guessing myself. My oldest son texts me. Just chit chat at first. I told him I was proud of him, and I am. He stayed in high school an extra year to graduate and join the Army. He toughed out boot camp and has taken advantage of every extra military activity to earn all kinds of accreditations and certifications including becoming a certified medic. He’s been in the Army since 2008 and has experienced hard knocks but has always manages to end up on top. He texted back, “I am proud of you too, Mom. For doing whatever it took to raise me, Kelley and Mike. I wouldn’t be the way I am without u! J <3” How totally awesome is that?? That kid, well, man, really has a way of saying things that touch me so deep.

I guess the point is, it doesn’t matter if we are perfect, it only matters that we try our best and do whatever we can with the moments we are given. What follows is not up to us. I can look back and see all the things I should’ve done different. I can beat myself up for the things I wish I didn’t do, or the things I wish I had done; but, I did what I thought was right at the time, and definitely the best of what I was capable of. Time and experience, have the ability to sculpt us. Seeing how far I’ve come, I wouldn’t change a thing about who I am today. I don’t mean that to sound conceited, I’m just saying that all our falls, our tears, our challenges have the ability to make us better regardless if it doesn’t turn out how we had hoped. In all honesty we control nothing but our attitudes. Failure does not have to be the end, it can be a new beginning and sometimes that’s exactly what we need to force open our tightly shut eyes. The only failure is thinking that we have to accept being less than who we know we are and not moving forward in the process…it doesn’t matter if we fall 100 times as long as we get up 101 times.

I don’t know what my future holds. I’m sure I’ll make some mistakes, be disappointed and really look like a dork at times, but I will always give it my all, be confident in who I am, and step back and laugh at myself when I need to. I will continue to embrace my imperfections knowing there is someone out there just like me, who thinks I’m perfect; and I, him. Maybe we are both just working on ourselves so that when the time is right, we will both be ready to handle even more of life’s quips…together. All I know is, if I don’t give it my all, I’m cheating myself and whomever is meant to be the special man in my life.

No matter how it feels today, there are many great things yet in store, so until those times get here, appreciate every day as a blessing. A day to grow, appreciate and learn. When you give it your all, there is no room or reason to regret anything. We can look back as a way to realize how far we’ve come, and where we have yet to go. Life expects nothing less than all of what we can give…even if that doesn’t feel like much at times. Fortunately, most times, that’s all that is required. So, just keep doing whatever it takes and let the rest fall into place.

Submission: The Wrong Way

Went to the country fair with my daughter last night, we had a blast! Walking everywhere, talking, laughing, snapping pictures and eatting hotdogs, cotton candy and caramel apples. However, as we perused the rides area, I was launched back in time…to a darker time when I attended the fair…ten years ago. (It amazes me how smells, sights, or sounds can propel us back in time.)

I was married to my second husband. He was a large man: 6’4”, 240 pounds.  What an idiot I was. Yet again, I was guilty of thinking I was in love; shamefully I was proud to have him on my arm more than anything. I was so thankful to have someone so strong and handsome there to protect me. I see now he merely befitted the dream I yearned to live. Crashing back down to reality, I would soon find that he was a very controlling and jealous man. In my mind’s eye, I thought jealousy equated to love and…jealousy almost made me feel…special…in a way. But jealousy is a very hard emotion to live with. (Oh, and jealousy will be a topic soon. I need further insight from my superiors first but it ought to be good so be on the lookout.) That momentous day at the fair, I wasn’t allowed to look at anyone or anything. Seemed any time I lifted my head I was being accused of wanting another man or checking out a girl…yes, a girl. Therefore, to sooth the savage beast, I spent the entire time starring at my feet. I remembered feeling so helpless, so afraid, but feeling that I was being a ‘good girl’…doing what I was supposed to do to keep him happy. In my mind there was such a fierce struggle. I submitted to him because I thought that’s what a good woman was supposed to do. But, why was he treating me this way? Wasn’t I being good? Wasn’t I being a ‘good wife’? In reflection, I see I was submitting as a wife should, but in the wrong way, for the wrong reasons. Enter the topic: submission.

Per the dictionary, ‘submit’ means to “yield to the control of another.” We don’t see this much in today’s culture. Everyone is expected to be strong, be independent, stand on your own two feet, however, the bible stresses that we should submit to the Lord (Job 22:21, James 4:7-10). Looking back I see I had it all wrong. Submitting is not bad, but I need to submit to God first. I say first because the bible also tells us we are to submit to one another and to our husbands/wives (Ephesians 5:21-28). Now, here comes the critical element of submission: submission does not mean becoming one’s slave nor does it include or excuse any form of abuse. Submit means respect, trust, honor. We submit to God because we know His will is never to harm us or hurt us (Jeremiah 29:11). We need to submit to God because we cannot solve our own problems. We can’t always rely on our own two feet, we need God. We humble ourselves before Him, heeding the advice in His Word. (Job 8:6-7) The bible is a clear manual for how we each can live a good, productive and full life. When we submit to God we allow His will to take precedence, not our own. We take a back seat in honor of Him. We respect His authority even when we don’t want to do something. We trust in Him. We succumb to His purpose for us, even if we don’t know or understand what that purpose is – that’s trust. That’s submitting to God.

Several of my past relationships would read this and say, “Do what!? You weren’t submissive at all!” Well, first of all, consider the source – they only saw what they wanted to see. Seems everyone loves to point fingers and find someone or something to blame but…I’ve got broad shoulders so blame me all you want. You can stay in the valley, because I know God knows the truth. I’m not perfect and never have I claimed to be. But…I’m starting to understand now. At some point every pot boils over if it is left to its own accord…and I am no exception. You can push me down, but just like the blood that flows through my ancestry, I will get back up one day. I dealt with my dad for many years and being a hard worker was not the only trait I inherited from him. Sometimes we have to stand up for ourselves. We must claim where that line in the sand gets drawn. Wrong is wrong. I’m starting to see that I’ve actually helped others push me down, or keep me down in my own pit of ignorance, fear and misery. Thanks to God I am learning to use the confidence and determination inside of me in my relationships ,too. (I tease my son that he needs to use his ‘powers’ for good – guess I should’ve been telling myself that, too!) The hardest thing in the world to accomplish is letting someone step all over you for so long, then trying to demand anything…let alone respect. I know I am to submit to God and to my husband, but there is a right way and a wrong way. I’m seeing that now. I’m not perfect, but hind sight sure is.

So, why was I submissive to my ex-husband…for that matter, why was I submissive to any man in my past? Well, I grew up seeing my mother submit to my father, which is what a wife is suppose to do (Ephesians 5:21-28, Colossians 3:18-19) but I was doing it in the wrong order and for the wrong reasons. Looking back, I can see that I was adamantly searching for someone to love me, to protect me, to validate me. I was yielding to my desires and unyielding to God’s will. There was such a frightening emptiness inside me I so longed to fill. Sadly, I was looking everywhere but up. He kept tugging at me but I was the one who kept pulling away…sometimes running away, only to put myself in yet another position of hurt and pain. It wasn’t any man’s fault, it was my own fault. My actions and reactions produced the consequences. However…after upteen years, I’m finally getting the lesson. God wants us to learn from our trials. ‘From’ as in away – He doesn’t want to see us repeat them. And I don’t have to repeat this mistake any more. And maybe that’s why I feel so much stronger now. Not because I’m standing on my own two feet, but because I know God’s behind me, ready to catch me if I fall. I’m not afraid to stand alone because I know God is here with me. I finally found that one person who loves me, protects me, has nothing but unconditional acceptance in His heart for me. And if I follow His plan for me, the next man I allow in my life will be special. It will be different because of what I am learning now. He has filled that emptiness inside of me and He is filling me with the ability to love myself so that I can truly love another. I needed someone to guide me, to help me through the valleys of this life and His Word is my guide. His Word lights my path and it lives in my heart and gives me balance when I stand on narrow ground. (Psalm 119:105) God is my rock. (Deuteronomy 32:4) I have found my foundation! I have found where I am to build my table! (Oh my gosh, you’ve got to read my rendition of The Components of a Relationship – I just had a wonderful epiphany! Praise God!)

When we do anything out of order or for the wrong reasons, there will be fallout. We should expect the consequences. Until we get the lesson He will keep administering the test. Remember: He will test us but never tempt us. If we love someone else before loving ourselves, if we trust others before trusting God, if we misalign our priorities…there will be a lesson to be learned. God wants us to grow from the experience. He wants us to walk away with the lesson. There is a delicate order, a delicate balance to life. We can’t help anyone if we don’t first help ourselves. We can’t understand others if we don’t first attempt to understand ourselves. And we aren’t alone. We have God, we have our church. Some things we can learn together, but some things must be learned before we can truly commit to a healthy relationship with someone else.

I know through this walk I am building my knowledge, building my wisdom…the next time I love, it will be right. I will deserve him as much as he deserves me. Because I put Jesus first, because He is the first love of my life, because I follow Him instead of expecting Him to follow me…everything else will fall into place. He will still be there to pick me up, dust me off and set me back on course. I just have to follow Him, keep my focus on Him. Only I can dim His light in my life. Lesson by lesson my house is forming, understanding is establishing it, and through God’s grace He is giving me knowledge to fill the rooms. (Proverbs 24:3-4) Be still my heart.

Thank you God, thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for teaching me and leading me and for filling me with Your love, mercy and grace. Let Your light shine upon me, let Your light shine in me, let Your light shine through me so that others may behold the beauty in Your works. If I am filled with just a mere spark of Your Holy fire, I am content. In Your precious Holy name, I pray. Amen.

“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” ~ Job 22:21

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands’ as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” ~ Ephesians 5:21-28

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” ~ Colossians 3:18-19

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:1-2

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:7-10

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Proverbs 24:3-4

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4

“If you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place. Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.” Job 8:6-7

“Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” Psalm 34:3-7