Saturday, August 31, 2019

When Love Doesn't Look Like A Fairy-Tale

This picture was originally posted by Rachel Martin over at Finding Joy.

     When I first read these words by Rachel Martin over at Finding Joy, they hit me like a ton of bricks.  It really felt like my chest suddenly had pressure on it and I couldn't escape.  There is so much truth in that one simple little sentence that it couldn't be denied.  How many of you have sat there wondering, "What the hell has happened to my life?"?  Let's be honest, a lot of us have.

     I was one of those little girls who dreamed of a prince who would come rescue from the life I thought was wrong.  I dreamt of that happily ever after but never really thought of what was after the after.  The man I thought was m y prince came and went.  He broke my heart in a big way.  A few more princes came and went.  Then I married who I though was my true fairy-tale prince.  I was so sure about him that nothing could convince me otherwise.  To tell you the truth, he wasn't my fairy-tale either.  He's human just like all the other "princes" before him.  He has his faults just like I do.  I was being unfair holding any of them up to some unrealistic standard of being perfect.  If you want to blame companies like Disney, don't!  There are factors everywhere that can contribute to what I call "The Fairy-Tale Syndrome.  I define it as an unrealistic expectation that one will find the perfect partner and that their relationship will not have bumps in the road.

     It took quite a few years, and some therapy, for both of us to get over some preconceived notions of what each other should be like.  We also had to work on getting over the notion of what we should have in our lives and when we should have it.  Newsflash; you NEVER stop working on those things!  Love is hard work.  Life is hard work.

     Expect that not any one relationship will be perfect.  Expect that you will have good days.  Expect that sometimes a good day is that you made it to the end of the day.  Expect that you'll have days where you laugh with each other.  Expect there will be days when you know you love that person but you don't really like them at the moment.  Expect that love will be multi-chromatic.  Love never lives in just one emotion.
     It's okay to have dreams, but we need to remember to put those dreams into perspective and realize that not every dream will come to fruition the way we envisioned it or at all.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Anxiety You Are A Thief

Hello anxiety I know you well
Like a thief in the night you crawl in
Whether a door or a window it doesn't matter
You seek out entrance whenever you can

You think your purpose is rational
Good even
You think you spur people on to goodness
Your ways are normal

Let me call you what you are
You don't ask to come in
Creeping or barging is your way

Like a wildfire you spread
You try to devour everything in your path
Leave nothing good really is your way

Your master is a liar
He lies to you
He uses you to destroy
To dismantle
To eradicate

He made you to be irrational
To confuse and confound
To separate peace from it's source

My master is greater
He comes to comfort
To wipe away tears
To bring order

He knows your master
He speaks against him
Against his destruction and wicked ways

My master is love
He is comfort and peace
He wild ever present
And pouring out His gifts

You have bowed to His authority many times
I pray for the day to come
I know the day will come
When you and your master will bow to him forever
Your thieving ways will be defeated
No more will you harm
No more

Original Work By
     Tania Thompson

Thursday, August 8, 2019

To The Mom I Saw Struggling

     I saw you at the fair that day; twice in fact.  You had a toddler who was wanting to go in every direction.  The first time I spoke to you.  I told you I had an apparatus like you were using and that it was a life saver for my middle child.  You made eye contact and tried to muster at least a grin, but I could see it in your eyes.  You were frustrated, looking tired, ready to go home and take a nap.  Being a mother myself I knew there was probably a reason you didn't just pick up your toddler and leave right there.  I mean who would stay at a huge fair with just a less than happy toddler?  I sure wouldn't! 

     Just a short time later we crossed paths again.  You were were with some family.  This time your look was more intense.  The other adult with you was dealing with your toddler, but no one was dealing with you.  That look, oh how I know that look.  I wanted to go over and give you a hug and tell you it would be okay and that you were not alone in the struggle.  But I didn't approach you.  I let fear stop me from trying to give you some kind of comfort only another mother can give.  I'm sorry I let you down.

     I promise you now that my best will be put forward should I ever see you, or anyone like you, again.  I will extend a hand of comfort, a word of kindness, an ear to bend.  The need for that never goes away.  I saw you that day and have thought of you every day since.  God is using you.  He's using that moment.  I pray the next time you have a moment like you did that day that someone out there will extend you some comfort and compassion.  You are not alone.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

It's Okay To Have Those Days

     What are "those days"?  They are the days when getting out of bed is a monumental task because of physical or mentally pain.  They are the days when hell seems to appear first.  The days that start out great and go to hell in a hand basket.  You know those days that just keep piling on top of each other?  Yes those days!  Or how about the days when all you want to do is find a corner and cry?  Yes those days too.  Those awful days you wish you could erase matter.

     They matter because they are part of you.  I don't believe they are intentionally poured out on us, but they can be flipped around and used for good.  They can magnify the sweetness of the little boy who walks up to you randomly at the park and gives you a flower.  The kindness of the barista at your local coffee shop can help soothe your soul more then on an average day.  The caring words from a loved one can help you make it through a particularly rough day.  Lunch with a co-worker can ease the sting of a bad encounter with a boss or customer.

     Not all our days suck, but what if they were all exactly the same good or bad?  That kiss from your 16 year old might not mean as much.  That free coffee would be just another day.  Those surprise flowers wouldn't really be a surprise would they?  I know it might all sound naive or simplistic, but ask yourself if it really is.  Deep down I think we all know the answer.

     To be clear, I don't ask for heartache.  I didn't ask to lose so many loved ones in the span of 15 years.  I didn't ask for my husband to have back surgery when he was 32 years old.  My prayers are often more of a lament type fashion like me asking God, "REALLY?!  Can I not go through this again?  Why can this crap skip my children?, etc".  I pray constantly for God to help me see his will for my life and how a situation can be used for good.  In the next breath I can ask him to please spare whatever crap lays around the corner.  I think he saves us from way more than we know.

     What's the point of this all?  It's okay if you have "those days" where you need to retreat.  Sometimes we need to have a good cry and all that stuff.  We just have to reminds ourselves not to stay there that long.  We were not meant to be be defeated but to be victorious.  Try to be intentional about kindness.  Look at how a situation you've encountered can give you compassion for someone else you see having a particularly bad time.  See those seemingly ordinary moments as the extraordinary moments they really are.  Let "those days" be a reminder to take a breath or a break or a new directions. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

What Was I Going To Write About?

     Tonight I sat down thinking I knew what I was going to write about.  I mean I haven't blogged anything in months.  There are tons of ideas floating around in my head.  They all seem small, trivial, extremely unimportant, too depressing, or too vague.  What the heck is wrong with my brain?  I think it's just time to go to bed.  Some days are just like that where it's better to go to bed and start over tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Life Always Finds A Way

Photo Credit: Tania Thompson

     I was walking my dog one day and this tree stopped me in my tracks.  Notice what's not supposed to be there?  That metal post maybe held a sign or supported the tree when it was a sapling; I'm leaning toward sign.  Regardless of its first use, it was left there, forgotten of its original purpose.  Then this tree kept growing.  It kept growing in a direction that was in direct conflict with that metal post.  The two don't go together.  They are not natural friends.  Despite occupying the same space, the tree found a way to keep growing.  Over time it slowly started to grow around its obstacle.  Despite its scars from this process, it is a stunning tree.  I really wish I had taken a picture of the whole tree.  It has beautiful leaves and colored flowers.  Little sprouts of it are growing around its bottom.
     Life always finds a way!  We are like this tree.  Despite the circumstances we may find ourselves in, we can find a way.  Either we grow around the problem, over the problem, or away from the problem.  Despite the scars we may have, we can still be beautiful.  Scars tell a story.  They say where we've been, what we've endured, and what we've conquered.  We can always find a way to show beauty and strength to others, to offer hope, to be a beacon.  Whether quietly or loudly, show people how your life found a way.  Show them how you went around an obstacle or just rolled right over it.  Your story is beautiful.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Finding Yourself Is A Lie

     Have you ever heard the phrase, "I'm just trying to find myself"?  It comes in many different forms.  It's a phrase I've heard uttered probably a thousand times, and one I'll probably hear a thousand times more.  In all honesty, I hate that phrase!  To me it implies that you are not who you are and that you need to go out and find the real you.  Is the real you somehow in a different country then the one you are in?  Is the real you somehow at a different job then the one you currently work in? 

     The truth is that who you are is inside you already.  You are not another person.  You may be bruised and buried a little, but you are there.  There may be people telling you what you should be, but who you really are is still there.  Outside circumstances may be telling you that you are something else, but who you are is still there.

     I have struggled a lot with this over the years.  With being a wife and mother comes some preconceived notions of what I should be that either aren't me at all, or are not the whole of who I am.  Whether I was working or staying home with my children full-time, those notions were still there.  They're still here now.  Somehow when I became a wife and mother, some of the things that really helped me feel alive somehow got buried and I became a different person.  Some of it was by choice.  There were things I tried to do that I thought would make me happy because they made other people happy.  That sometimes led to unrealistic expectations.  Some of what I let myself become was by pressure and lack of support.

    One day I sort of snapped and said to myself, "NO MORE!  If you don't do something you will really lose yourself.''  The change started out slowly.  I realized I had to add some things back to myself that I love apart from my family.  I realized doing these things makes me a better wife and mother; they make me a better person overall.  Some of the changes I made I had to fight for.  I knew they were right for me so I just couldn't let them go.

     Even if it is in small ways, try to get back to who you are.  Do you love to cook but can't afford it?  Try to find recipes that include only a certain number of ingredients. Alter old favorites to include, or exclude, certain ingredients.  Do you love to play sports?  Find a weekend league for adults.  Trying volunteering for a local sports association like PONY Baseball or AYSO.  Do you love animals but can't have one or don't work in the field?  Trying volunteering at your local ASPCA chapter or some other animal welfare organization.

     Remember you are already you, you just may need to dust yourself off.  You'll thank yourself for it and I'm sure other people will to.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

When This Time Of Year May Not Be Easy

***DISCLAIMER:  I am not a professional of any sort in the areas of mental and physical health.  I am simply one who has suffered and survived.  What you read here is just my personal opinion and experience.  If you are in crisis please dial 911 or seek the help of a professional.

I have a love-hate relationship with this time of year.  I love aspects of it; rain falling, a fresh Christmas tree, and sticky buns cooking on Christmas morning are just a few.  Other aspects make it extremely difficult.  Though not in the same year, I lost both my parents just about two months before Christmas.  I had a miscarriage one week before Christmas and had to try and plaster on a happy face.  This getting dark starting at 4:00pm drives me up the wall!!!!  I don't think anybody likes it getting dark that cotton-pickin' early, but I digress.

In all honesty, this year I am having a hard time finding the energy and drive to do even the things that bring me joy.  I have plans to bake a bourbon cake but I'm not sure it will happen.  My absolute favorite thing about this time of year is a real Christmas tree.  Growing up that was one constant in our home.  No matter how bad a year it was we always had a Christmas tree; the earlier the better.  It was like a beacon of hope that things would be okay.  This year, this year our Christmas tree barely went up on Saturday.  Lights went on it on Sunday night.  It still doesn't have decorations.  I promised my kids Friday afternoon they could decorate.

What does my carrying on about depressing things have to do with anything?  If nothing else, let it serve to show you that you are not alone in this world if you also struggle at this time of year; anytime of year for that matter.  I see you and recognize your struggle.  Please don't lose hope.  It's out there.  We might have to dig deep, but I promise it's there.

I saw hope in the faces of two of my kids when we went to finally pick out our Christmas tree.  They walked the aisles with me oohing and awing over all the trees until we found the one  they thought was just right.  I knew hope when we had rain a few weeks ago.  Listening to it and smelling it hitting the brick wall were heaven to me.  My oldest shows me hope when they get happily excited about things they love.

Hope is out there.  There are times we have to work very hard to recognize it.  Do the best you can.  It can be coffee with a friend, a walk in the sun, reading a good book.  , It can simply be getting out of bed and taking a shower.  It can also mean having a conversation with your doctor and/or a therapist.  I've had to search my hope and joy out.  I've also had a conversation with my doctor.  If your sadness persists for a long period of time, or worsens quickly, please seek help.  It doesn't make you weak, it just makes you human.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Introducing Me

Here I am for the second time trying to start a blog; probably the 100th time trying to start a journal of any sort.  If you find yourself here, I hope you find something that at least doesn't make you roll your eyes.  The beginning here will be a little bumpy.

I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, cousin, friend, and all-around complicated woman.  Let's be honest, who isn't complicated?  Even the most seemingly low-maintenance person I know has layers underneath what I already know; but I digress.  Among other things, I love country music, baking, and am a pluviophile.  I believe in Jesus but have been known to curse like a sailor.  That second thing I am working on.  My kids are my life and my husband says he wouldn't know what to do without me.  

There are times when I think I've got it all together and times I swear the world is going to crash down around me because I forgot Parmesan cheese at the store.  According to one person in my house it will.  They swear pasta must always have Parmesan cheese on.  Growing up in an Italian-American family I can guarantee you this person in my house is wrong, but that could be a post for another day.

If you find yourself here and have any questions, ask away.  If I can I will answer you.  There it is, short and sweet.  Until next time.

When Love Doesn't Look Like A Fairy-Tale

This picture was originally posted by Rachel Martin over at Finding Joy .       When I first read these words by Rachel Martin over...