Search

Cave to Cliff

One woman's journey from darkness to light

Tag

joy

My Heart Is Full

It is 12:50 a.m. early Sunday morning. My day began at 9 a.m. Saturday. I am beat, but too excited to sleep yet.

I cannot begin to express what an amazing day it has been!

First I had the opportunity to sit at the feet, so to speak, of 4 Zurvita Ambassadors via skype and phone. They talked to us about how to build our business and answered any questions we had. I haven’t had a chance to process that, but I will soon and am looking forward to it.

Next up was the wedding of my beautiful friend, Susan. I have been so honored to have a behind the scenes look at their relationship as it has been unfolding over the past several months. Today, I was able to stand by both Susan and Mike documenting the celebration of an incredible love story. I’m so grateful to my good friend, Lennox, for offering to be my second shooter. He did an incredible job and made my day more enjoyable.

Hopper (119)-wb

All Things New

A couple of days ago I sat down with my new wall calendar, planner, computer, and a variety of pens to begin sketching out the new year. Armed with the kids’ school and scouts calendars I began filling in the blank spaces of our lives. Time passes quickly. Before I knew it I had scheduled a couple of out of state trips for me, camp for kids, and summer vacation has arrived. My children will turn 12, 15, 16, and 19. Wow. WOW! That just happened. My kids are already grown and yet those days of toddlerhood and of hard things seem to last so long.

The days are long, but the years are short.

I have spent much of my life trying to control and predict the outcome of nearly every situation. Even as I attempted it I knew it wasn’t possible. Yet, I would remain paralyzed by fear of the unknown while life just kept on going without my consent. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

That changed for me in 2014. Somewhere along the way I began to learn to embrace the unknown and plow ahead. Lots of change happened. I completed a 90 day challenge and made weekly videos of the journey. That was a huge thing! Then November hit and I opened the door to fear. I stopped making videos, I stopped losing weight, I was waiting for the holiday storm to hit my home. You see, in the past I have had a really hard time when the holidays approach. I kept saying that this year would be different, but I felt powerless when the old feelings came. While I was beginning to go down the old path, I was also wanting something different.

Then something amazing happened on Thanksgiving. I woke up that morning, remembered that it would have been my 20 year anniversary, and I felt nothing negative. I thought I’d feel sad at least for the fact that I had lost my ideal life. I didn’t feel sad, angry, or regretful in any way. I felt joy and freedom for the first time since my husband and I separated. I am healed and that is beautiful.

Later that day I sat at the table of my good friends as we celebrated our traditional Thanksgiving meal. I couldn’t even tell you how many years we’ve been doing that, but I think it’s over 10 years now. We all sat there with our growing children and 3 new guests talking and laughing. I sat there watching all these people I love so much. Some have walked with me through my darkest moments. These are my people, my tribe representing dozens more that I’d love to share a meal with.

Thanksgiving 2014

How did I get to be the luckiest girl in the world to have such friends? 

That day I knew that the rest of our year was going to be stellar. Guess what? I was right. I believed it and so it was. Were things perfect? No, not at all. I felt some stress due to finances and other family issues. I often went back to read my gratitude journal to see how God had provided for me in the past. I saw again the evidence of the amazing friends I’m surrounded by. I began to text several of them to let them know how grateful I am for them in my life. Financially things worked out over and above my expectations. Then I came down with the flu only a few days before Christmas. I wasn’t able to do everything I had dreamed up to do, but again, it all worked out splendidly. It was our best Christmas ever!

Tree Decorating

Now here we are in 2015!

I am hopeful, but better than that I am excited. There are so many things I am looking forward to! First of all, I’m shooting the wedding of a good friend of mine today. In the beginning of February I’ll be heading to Tennessee for the Zurvita national conference then later that month I’ll be heading up to Washington to the Refresh Conference for foster and adoptive parents. I’m continuing my health and fitness journey, as well. I’ll begin making videos in the next week so stay tuned for those! I’ve made some goals and the one I’m most excited/nervous about isn’t something I can predict or control because it involves building relationship with someone in my family. Guess what? That’s okay. I’m embracing it, all of it, even the ugly parts.

Thanks to all of you that made 2014 my best year yet. You know, to be perfectly honest I’m pretty darn proud of myself for all the changes I made last year. I used to think it was arrogant to say that, but I did the work. I had a strong support and couldn’t have done it without that, but while that support has always been there I’ve not put the work in before. This time I did and will continue to do so.

I’m not the only one making changes. Ireland and I spent a couple of hours changing her hair color. We did it last summer, but I did a pretty poor job and then she went swimming in a chlorinated pool so it faded pretty quickly. This time I did a great job and she won’t be swimming anytime soon. She’s my sunshiny Strawberry Shortcake. She’s also my biggest fan and I’ve gotta say that I love how much she loves me and likes being with me.

Ireland's Red Hair-5091

Won’t you join me in embracing 2015? What story are you writing in this coming year?

May it be of peace, forgiveness, joy, gratitude, and facing those challenges courageously.

I’d love to hear about what you’re looking forward to this year!

Love to you all…

Let It Begin

Sage: Mama, come out front please!
Me: Uh, why? [in a frightened tone of voice]
Sage: Just do it. I want to show you something. Close your eyes.

I walk out to the front porch then insist on on opening my eyes. Both he and Christopher are “helping” me out there and I am wary of their help.

What’s that? My beloved bike!?! WHAT????? He had fixed it up for me all on his own!

We then went on a very short bike ride. Ginger decided to come along. I don’t know what it is with riding the bike, but she turns into psycho dog. She jumps back and forth in front and on either side of the front tire LOUDLY and somewhat frantically barking. I was afraid she’d get hurt because she’d run a circle around me with cars coming from all directions. Also, I really didn’t want to run over her leg and then have a vet bill.

When I was young I was in a very bad bike wreck. I still have some anxiety over that. I didn’t know that I did. I mean, I rode bikes for YEARS after that even though I was scared. I wanted to keep up with my friends. As I was riding up and down the hills around my house I kept thinking, “I’m not wearing a helmet. Oh, I like this shirt. What if I rip up my jeans? Does it hurt more to skid down a hill than it did when I was kid?” I went home shortly after that. I’ll ride my bike to the gym in the morning if it is light enough. I need to replace some reflectors and I should get a helmet, my brain is rare and precious.

It was just yesterday that I was saying I need a bike. I’ll still need a different bike for what I’d like to do, but this one is good for around town. I’m so THRILLED to have her back. The brand of the bike is Free Spirit. As I was riding her I thought that her name should be “Susie” or maybe “Suzie”….maybe “Sally”? I don’t know yet. I’ll have to ride her more.

my bike

Mother’s Day 2014

Traditionally, Mother’s Day has been a source of pain and chaos in our home. Old hurts weigh us down like anchors. Our fears and hurts about mothers and mothering rise to the surface and we attack. I attack. Sometimes kids attack with their words and actions. The day has been a royal pain. Last year I called my best friend from my van crying, “I am a horrible mother. These kids are hurt. I am hurt. I said mean things. I can’t make this better. I’m never going back inside.” Well, I did. I can’t make it all better, but I can try.

A few days ago as I was driving along the highway I came to the realization that I needed to deal with some unresolved feelings. So I started talking to God about that. I am sad that I don’t have a mom to celebrate. For many years I tried to stuff that sadness. I mean, she died 30 years ago when I was 9, surely I should be over it, right? Well, get this. Being over it doesn’t mean not being sad. I gave myself permission to be sad. I talked to my kids about that. I said, “Hey, so this Mother’s Day thing is hard, isn’t it? Well, it’s not going to be hard this year. I’m sad. It’s ok to be sad. I know that you might be sad, too, and that’s totally ok. It is not ok for us to hurt one another because we hurt. This year, we are going to rock this Mother’s Day!”

My mama and me. Look at that hair. Seriously people! Those are some pinchable cheeks right there!
My mama and me. Look at that hair. Seriously people! Those are some pinchable cheeks right there!

I became a mother when I was 21. Christopher changed the way I looked at life. Suddenly I had this little baby who would quickly grow into a man. I felt so honored to be the one chosen to raise him. I still feel that way even though I fall so short. I thought that having a child meant that my Mother’s Day would be magical. I had an unrealistic expectation and because of that ideal, I was often hurt. However, my first one was very good.

A page from my scrapbook. This boy wasn't thrilled with the sand, but he got over it.
A page from my scrapbook. This boy wasn’t thrilled with the sand, but he got over it.
A close up of little Christopher. Look at his cheeks! Oh, that boy. I am still smitten by him. He has always been such an incredible gift to me.
A close up of little Christopher. Look at his cheeks! Oh, that boy. I am still smitten by him. He has always been such an incredible gift to me.

I think I’d mostly get money from my dad to buy mom some perfume or something.  However, when I was 9 years old I decided to do something a little different. I remember heading down to the local department store. I’m sure it had an official name, but we simply called it “The Department Store”. You could buy anything there! I chose a light blue felt rectangle, some googly eyes, white yarn with a silver thread running through it, a fake flower, and a needle. I have vague memories of my best friend, Peggy, being with me. I don’t know that she did the same thing, but we were often together. I can’t imagine that I did it without her there for at least some of the process.

I didn’t know this would be the last Mother’s Day gift I gave to my mom. [hug your mom, your friend, your kids, blah blah – no really, do it – i think these are things we say when we’re getting to be about 40]

I have NO idea why I wrote "We Love Mom". Who is we???
I have NO idea why I wrote “We Love Mom”. Who is we???

I was so proud of that thing. I had never done anything like that before, or since. (Though I sometimes imagine I’m a fantastic embroidery artist. I just think it’s something I would enjoy doing as long as I could do it well!

So, this year rolls around and we’re going to have an awesome day. I didn’t entertain the thought of it being anything other than spectacular!

Guess what??? It was! My kids blessed me in so many ways!

We went to the Cheesecake factory and walked around Washington Square. We met lovely people at Lush.

This is a card from Sage. I thought it was the most adorable thing ever! He loves me more than the rest of them! Haha!
This is a card from Sage. I thought it was the most adorable thing ever! He loves me more than the rest of them! Haha!
Ireland's card. The "raining" part is supposed to go with the "love". She asks me, "Do you like the raining Love part, mommy?" Yes, sweet one, very much.
Ireland’s card. The “raining” part is supposed to go with the “love”. She asks me, “Do you like the raining Love part, mommy?” Yes, sweet one, very much.
What a little gift giver Ireland is. She made me a calm down bottle. It's glitter and water. When you're angry you shake it and wait for the glitter to stop swirling. By then you should be calm. Hilarious. She knows I need it.
What a little gift giver Ireland is. She made me a calm down bottle. It’s glitter and water. When you’re angry you shake it and wait for the glitter to stop swirling. By then you should be calm. Hilarious. She knows I need it.
Breakfast of Champions & Warriors. Oranges, scrambled eggs, and ice cream prepared by Ireland. She had the first and last bites of my ice cream...and several in between!
Breakfast of Champions & Warriors. Oranges, scrambled eggs, and ice cream prepared by Ireland. She had the first and last bites of my ice cream…and several in between!
Christopher made art for me. (He tells me this picture is upside down.) I love that he made me this.
Christopher made art for me. (He tells me this picture is upside down.) I love that he made me this.

 

I was loved on and well cared for this Mother’s Day.

Total win. Choices matter.

I chose love over fear.

Love Wins.

Always.

 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!!!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
 

leaves_WM

The photo above is by my 12 year old son, Sage. I found our little point and shoot camera and gave him free reign with it. Sometimes I gave him a  little direction. I’m looking forward to seeing what my kids come up with and what they see.

I love the Autumn. This year, more than most, I feel alive. I don’t know if it’s the bright days and cold nights or if turning 39 did something magical for me. All I know is that I feel different. The other night as I was falling asleep I wondered, “Is this what JOY looks like?” You know the kind I mean? Not “I’ve had a good day I feel happy” sort of joy, but the “My day was cruddy, but I am not without hope” sort of day. I didn’t want to announce to everyone that I think i know what joy is just in case I don’t. It’s stuck around for a few days so far, maybe even longer. Is that to say that it’s been easy?

No. I don’t think that anything worth having is easy.

We have many hard days. There are moment where I wonder if I can walk this road, but then I remember that of course I can walk this road. I was chosen to be the parents of these 4 children and to be exactly where I am in life at this moment. I also know that I’m not meant to stay right where I am so I dust off and keep moving forward.

However, there was time that I didn’t move forward. In fact, I’d get knocked down and I’d stay there until someone made me get up. Once I learned to stand, I counted it as “moving forward” when I was no longer losing ground. Now moving forward means exactly that. Sometimes I have days when it’s a snail’s crawl and other days when it’s a more like a greyhound. Actually, I don’t think I’m moving forward quite that quickly and I don’t know that we’re meant to.

All I know is that for as long as I remember I’ve wanted something different than the lives I’ve seen around me. Some part of me knew it was possible, but I wasn’t living that because I didn’t believe it. I now know and believe for better things.

Today’s ponderings: Proverbs says in chapter 19 that the one who keeps the commandments keeps their soul, but he who is careless of his ways will die. I find it interesting that “keeping” your soul and dying are opposite. I don’t know about you, but I want to keep my soul. I have been careless in my ways and I now know what that feeling was when I woke up in the mornings. It was my soul dying. This spurs me on to thinking about verses in the new testament about being watchful, diligent, putting on the armor of God, taking thoughts into captivity, etc. I think that being careless doesn’t need to mean that we’re out bar hopping and smoking dope. It can simply mean that we’re being watching and diligent, we’re just coasting along not putting forth any thought or effort.

Today I choose to not let my carelessness guide me, but to be thoughtful in the steps I take.

Books & Dreams & Living

This was my facebook status at 12:11 a.m.-

I simply cannot express to you how much joy it brings me to unpack boxes of books. My place is actually starting to feel like a home now. A house without books just can’t be a proper home! Hello feisty Anne Shirley and thieving Bilbo. Wisdom with the Millers and Robert Frost. Oh, my old friends. How I’ve missed you. Oh, where to begin. Oh yeah, we’re currently reading Treasure Island and a silly little kid chapter book that I can’t remember the name of.

I have loved reading my entire life. I can’t remember ever not having a book in my hand.

Remember those boxes I wrote about yesterday? Those boxes were, and some still are, full of books, scrapbooks, and scrapbooking supplies. I wasn’t looking forward to emptying them, but the moment I began I could feel my spirit lift.

“Oooh, what’s this one?” Oh yes, The Secret Garden. Then my eyes saw the Anne of Green Gables series and Little House on the Prairie and I began to feel as though I had come home. In my 2 months here I’ve been trying to make it home for my children and I. Selfishly, mostly for myself because my kids seemed to adapt pretty well. Little did I know that what I really needed was a several shelves of books and various stacks or baskets of them lying around.

Ahh, books…what a welcome escape from real life. I remember lying on my bed covered with a smurf bedspread surrounded in books. One of my greatest joys was getting a dictionary. I’m not joking. In fact, I miss having an actual great big dictionary. It was a picture dictionary; imagine my dismay when I realized that most dictionaries aren’t adorned with the colorful art of the 70’s.

I feel like a home devoid of books just isn’t a home. I love hearing my kids ask, “Can I read in bed for a little bit?” Sometimes I have to say no, but I try not to. Books whisk you off to a world unheard of and has the ability to grow you in wisdom. I remember reading of the antics of Anne Shirley when I was in highschool. I think I stayed in my house the entire weekend reading them. When I left to walk to school the following Monday I remember stopping in my tracks at the wonder of the great oak trees dancing gently in the wind. How did I never notice their beauty before? I had known them all my life and yet, I hadn’t really known them, had I?

Reading Little Women helps me to be a little more brave when facing hard times; looking to what we do have and knowing that we will all grow up ok. Anything by Edith Schaeffer helps me to see things a little more clearly. In fact, I think I’ll start reading one of her books tomorrow.

A friend asked me what Rest looks like to me. I didn’t know at first. That’s not to say that I was silent, my mouth was moving and making sounds. However, when I realized what it was for me I heard a change in my voice and a change in my body. I said that it would be to be alone in a place where I could curl up with a book, some tea, my journal, and a smooth writing pen. I would read and sleep and probably journal along the way. That makes me happy. Guess what? Tomorrow I’ll have about 5 hours to myself to do just that.

My phone will be off. My computers will be off. I will be invisible to the world while coming more real and alive inside.

Day 4: Managing

It’s only day 4 and I almost forgot to post.

I have a confession. I haven’t done much reflecting today. I stayed up WAY too late last night. Didn’t get up for quiet time this morning. I hurt my back somehow and today I’ve been in more pain so really I’ve just been managing.

I don’t want to just manage, even while in pain. I wrote about Sara the other day. She didn’t just manage or survive. She walked in joy even when she could no longer walk.

Well, I may not have been more joyful today, but I didn’t have any blow ups. My little boy did, but I was able to remain calm. I was calm when my passively aggressive kid was disrespectful. I was calm when the littlest one still ate the cheese and banana that I told her NOT to eat. [She repented within about 10 minutes and we talked about it. I love that repentant heart!] I was calm when my pre-teen tells me that I let her wear that shirt all the time when in fact I tell her NOT to wear that again. Why isn’t it off to Goodwill already? I calmly taught a child a little bit about using photoshop. [I can’t remember how I ever learned to use it!]

I did whine a little about my back and really, I am whining again.

Managing.

I am not a good manager of my home. I’m not terrible, either. I’m just not where I want to be. However, I did quickly find a paper that I needed to turn in. I had placed in my home management binder, or my brain book as I like to call it. I did forget to take it into town with me! Grrr. I am slowly sifting through the paper in my life and figuring out how to organize it. Much of it ends up in the trash. I have several files of things I’ve kept as mementos over the years. I will eventually go through all of those, too.

It seems to me that I have been praying that I would be a better manager of my time and money. I wonder if I’ve improved over the past 16 years? I certainly hope so!

Oh, weight management. Ok. I don’t think I’m going to talk about that one right now. Although, I will say that I have been reading a book called, “Love to Eat, Hate to Eat”. I haven’t been too impressed by it so far, but today I read a chapter about DISCIPLINED Eating. Each of the capital letters is part of an acronym. I don’t remember all of them, but I do remember that one of them was about a certain food being an entry way into sin. For instance, eating a brownie isn’t sin, but will it lead me to wanting the whole pan? That gluttony and lack of self-control is sin. That brought to mind other areas like shopping or sex. Will one small thing lead to a big thing?

I will ponder on this some more and perhaps memorize the acronym so I can think about it before I delve into my next bout of binging.

My back is crying out for some ibuprofen and the heat pad now.

31 Days: Day 2 Reflections

I linked to the wrong day from Nester’s 31 Dayers link, so you’re here on day 2. Sorry about that!

For other entries in this series:

Day 1: Days of Reflection
Day 2: Day 2 Reflections
Day 3: Letting Go
Day 4: Managing
Day 5: First Fruits of Leftovers
Day 6:  The Longer I live…
Day 7: BoxesDay 8: [the one I forgot to title]
Day 9: [the one I didn’t bother titling]
Day 10: [oops the one that somehow didn’t get written]
Day 11: Rejoice
Day 12: My Birthday
Day 13: Peace
Day 14: Do Hard Things
Day 15: Exhausted
Day 16: I Don’t Wanna Write!!!!
Day 17: Avoidance
Day 19: Autumnal Thoughts
Day 20: Tears
Day 21: Socialization
Day 23: Courageous Covenant People
Day 25: Goals
Day 27: Parenting & Other Rants  

______________________________________________

This is actually something I’ve wanted to write about for over a week, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

There is a woman, Sara, who loves Jesus with all that she is and who is loved by hundreds all over the world. She touched their lives, though never meeting them in real life. She touched my life and I didn’t even get to meet her online. She died last month from a disease that had ravaged her body for years. She was unable to leave her home. Her immune system was weak so she didn’t get to have people over. She lived her life from her bed. Her body was broken, but her Spirit was free.

She chose Joy. She could have chosen anger and bitterness. She chose Him, wholeheartedly.

I virtually watched her last few days here on earth. One woman, Jessica, posted a blog about Sara inviting others to link up to their blog posts about her. There were 167. [Go ahead. Read a couple.]

I find it intriguing that I am tearing up over a woman I’ve never met. The words come out haltingly with many uses of the delete key. I simply don’t know what to say.

I just read this and it made me cry more. It speaks of the beauty of social media.

Can I just say right now that I LOVE social media? I know, MySpace got trashy. I joined it to support a sweet musician friend, Liana, WAY back in ’05. Then Facebook took us by storm. It changes all the time and we’re all worried about protecting our privacy, but guess what? I have a few friendships that have grown deeper because of facebook. I don’t feel quite as alone because I’m learning to ask for prayer from certain people on there. God is at work here, even on facebook.

Sara writes about her daily life in this post. In it she says:

“Most every gift I had, every talent I possessed, every freedom you can think of, I no longer have.”

Then in the next sentence she says:

“Bottom line, people, I am filled with joy. I’m exhausted, I’m in pain, I’m just getting by. But I am so incredibly blessed. I have a lovely home, an adorable pup, family and friends who care and people who love me, not despite my disease but because of who I am. I am blessed because I take nothing for granted. I love what I have instead of yearning for what I lack. I choose to be happy, and I am. It really is that simple, people. Start every day by being thankful and celebrate your life instead of devaluing it. I am so very grateful for each of you who lift me up and celebrate my life with me, and you should know I am celebrating each one of you every day.”

I have a confession. I want to choose joy, but I’m not even sure what that looks like in my life. I see what it looked like in Sara’s life. I think I’ve had a glimpse of it once or twice. I don’t actually remember it, but I remember telling a friend about it.

Calling it Joy by Lennox Fleary

Today

So much happening in this brain of mine. I don’t like it. What I do like is planning and knowing what is going to happen or how I’m going to feel. I don’t know why I’m still surprised when that doesn’t happen. It’s not like I’ve ever really been in control of my whole life.

Today feels like a day for listening to country music. I don’t know why.

One of my earliest memories is lying on the cold linoleum floor in the middle of a scorching hot day. The shades were pulled and the air conditioner hummed in the window. The old 8 track would play Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, and the like. My heart would feel so full and yet hurt at the same time. I loved that moment, but knew it wouldn’t last forever. My dad was working, my mom would be in the kitchen cooking or something. It was safe. I was safe. Maybe that’s where I am now. I feel full and happy and safe and loved, yet…well, these moments don’t last long in my life, do they?

The days are warm. Oh wait, no, they are HOT. Scorching hot and I’m going to just enjoy it and be happy for it. Shoot, I’m even thinking of going to the beach. Total spur of the moment sort of trip. So. NOT. Me. Then again, I might just stay home and clean…or pretend to clean.

You know what it is? It’s God asking me to trust Him even further and deeper. Can I trust Him with every area of my heart? Can I fully pour myself into this community without any expectation of return? Can I raise my children on my own? I used to scoff at the whole ‘it takes a village’, but I don’t any more. I need a village. I have a few people on my side, but largely I feel alone.

Joy and grief. Feeling thankful and tender. This moment is so fleeting and I wonder if I’ve ruined with my harshness or inability to see.

Seeing is a strange thing, isn’t it? Sometimes we can only see what is right in front of us and other times we can only see the things far off and neglect the things close to us.

I like to be surprised by laughter. My laughter. I don’t think I laugh easily. I love when it just bursts out me. I’m so surprised by it that it makes me laugh a little more.

There is a little boy by the name of Nathanial. He is 6 weeks old and is dying. He has cancer. He’s had chemo. His liver is week, his lungs try to fill with blood. When I think of this everything else kind of fades away. There are several updates a day. There’s a FB group dedicated just to this baby. There are nearly 1000 members. All are praying.

My heart is overwhelmed and I am left without words.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: