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Cave to Cliff

One woman's journey from darkness to light

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May Blogging

My Favorite 3 Posts

It’s hard to look through years of blogs to find your favorites. There are just SO many. Some made me sad and some made me glad and some made me very very mad. Just kidding about that mad part, but it just flowed out of me.

1. Living Life – Written in a very low time in my life. Low as in turned upside down. It is so obvious to me that God has been so good to always surround me with incredibly loving people.

2. My Birthday Boy – My Christopher tured 13. He’s only a couple of weeks away from turning 17. SEVENTEEN!!!! He is growing into such an amazing young man. It is easy to see his shortcomings and fear for the days to come. Then something will remind me of how great he is. I won’t write more now, I might cry.

3. Levi – My dear sweet all-grown-up nephew. In a moment that has changed our lives. I begged God to spare Levi’s life. I sit here, 3 doors down from my my nephew, and I am moved to tears. So very grateful for the life he has been given. Not only did you let us keep him, you blessed us all with a new baby. 13 months after the tragedy came the most beautiful baby girl. She was here for awhile tonight. We snoozed on the couch together. I wouldn’t let anyone else hold her. When she woke, she turned to me and smiled. Oh, and today, she reached out her arms to my Christopher. He’s the first one she’s ever done that to.

Enjoy reading, if you do. But mostly treasure the moment you’re living. I don’t mean you have to enjoy every moment. Sometimes they’re pretty crappy.

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My Biggest Struggle

Let’s be honest here. This blog every day in May thing has really turned into “blog more often than not”. I’m really okay with that, but from here on out I’ll feel a little silly knowing that I didn’t actually blog every day.

Today’s writing assignment is to write about our real life struggles. I could write about my kids. I could write about keeping my kitchen clean. I could even write about things that I’ve had to mull over in order bring peace to my heart. However, all of those things are secondary to this one.

Well, this won’t come as any surprise to anyone who has eyes. I struggle with with my weight. I have for a very long time.

Actually, let me rephrase that: I have struggled with my weight. 

I’m so done with the struggle. Really. I am so done.

I am not destined to be fat. I don’t have to hide behind my weight any more. I am safe and I can’t really hide anyway. What was I trying to save myself from? And why did I allow it to hold me down? All I know is that during prayer with some friends I was asking God what He would give me if I gave him the burdens I was carrying. I had a picture of myself standing next to Him, but I couldn’t figure out what He had given me. I remember thinking, “Why do I look so tall? He’s not going to make me grow taller.” pause pause pause….”Oh, I’m not fat anymore.” Right then, it was done.

Have I dropped all the weight since then? Nope. Here’s the thing, I have to walk in the fulfillment of that promise and I have to do it because it’s truth. Where there’s truth, there is freedom. You hear that? FREEDOM.

I want to be free. Don’t we all want to be free? I want to really live. I don’t want anything to hold me back!

As a believer in a living God who came to make all things new, to give us freedom in Him, and heal our hearts I can’t continue to allow this world to tie me down. I’m watching my children grow and as I watch I can see the generations of burdens slowly attaching themselves to my children. I can’t stand idly by and allow that.

I want something different for my kids than a life of addictions, jail time, and broken families. I’m about to start watching my friend’s children graduate, get married, have an amazing family and I have a hard time believing for those things for my kids. Mostly because none of us have ever had that in our family.

Oh boy, this is going somewhere else and it’s nearly midnight and I’m getting up early to do Zumba at 6 a.m.

I have been reticent to share of this struggle on my blog because I’ve done it so many times before.

I am choosing to walk in the truth that I’ve been given. I will not hide my beauty and I will not fear. I am brave and strong.

I’m going to share a video that I came across today. This young man, Zach Sobiech was barely 18 when he died today. He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma 4 years ago. He decided to live, not live like he was dying, but to simply live life to the fullest. So he did.

This is his song that he wrote, many people contributed to this video as a fun surprise him.

I’m going to try to get my kids up early enough to watch a 23 minute documentary about him before they go to school tomorrow.

A Favorite Picture of Me

IMG_1398

 

This could also be titled, “Dumb Things I do”. One day I said to my runner of sister-in-law, “Hey, let’s do this women’s half marathon in Eugene.” So we sign up. She’s a runner. I’m not.

I wrote about the event HERE. It’s a good read. I just read it and I feel emotional all over again.

Here’s the thing. That run was the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done. It took me over 4 hours. That’s a LONG time for 13.1 miles. This set a precedent for me.

Every single time something is hard for me I think, “Shoot, I made it through that 1/2 marathon, I can do anything!” When my day seems particularly difficult or even a week that seems hard I remember that right before I saw that 11 mile marker I seriously didn’t think I could make it. I didn’t know what else I could do, I couldn’t just sit down and stop, but I also didn’t know how I could make it through. I was despairing!

Then that 11 mile marker showed up and suddenly something clicked, I thought, “What??? I made it this far, I’m almost done. I’m. Almost. Done.”

When I’m in that dark place I just think, “This is my 11 mile marker. I’m almost through.”

So, while this isn’t my favorite picture, it reminds me who I am. I’m a fighter. I’m a finisher. I don’t give up. I’m tough.

I like that about me.

-Prompt brought to you by Story of My Life.

 

 

 

Skipping and Living Life

So, I’ve skipped a few days. It’s mostly because life is full. I guess that’s the best way to put it. I couldn’t write. I wanted to keep up with the blog every day in May challenge, but I just couldn’t. I had a very angry day. VERY ANGRY. I seriously thought I was going insane. That was Monday. When I sat down to write I couldn’t think of anything to write that wasn’t scathing and hurtful. I didn’t want to post that.

Today’s prompt is to blog about “your lot in life“. I can’t do that. That’s what so much of this blog is about. I’ve written about my kids and their journey to me. I’ve lamented about how hard things are and how much therapy we do and how sad things are. So, I need a break from that!

On Saturday a group of us took a leisurely stroll on a hike called Cascade Head. Oh wait, nope, that’s NOT what happened. I tell you, I read a little about the hike. It’s 6.8 miles round trip. I thought that it might be a little hard in places. I had NO idea what I was in for!

I start off by getting behind because I was taking pictures. I didn’t mind. I wanted to enjoy my day. Then I jogged a little bit to catch up when suddenly I stopped dead in my tracks. All I saw was a steep wall of steps. STEPS!!!! These baby legs of mine had to actually clamber over a few. My legs were burning, my lungs were burning, I thought I was going to pass out. I don’t mind being last, but darn it, not only was I last and had no idea where my group was, I was going to die on the trail. Eventually I see Sage bounding down the steps. He takes one look at me and bounds back up saying, “Here’s mama!” My kids are there along with Jessi and new friend Shelly. They are waiting for what seems like forever and I’m wondering if I’m even getting closer. I can’t even talk so I wheeze out, “You don’t (puff puff) have to (puff puff) wait for me.” Jessi peeks from around the tree chipperly saying, “Oh, we’re not.” I get up to where they are and I keep going. I am NOT going to stop. Shelly assures me that they needed a rest, too. They had been waiting long enough to not be winded! So, we travel on. I begin to realize that I won’t be focusing on taking pictures. This is a challenge and I’m going to rise to the occasion.

[I did have to leave early so I could pick up Christopher, his tux, and corsage in order to get him to where he needed to be for his first prom with his new girlfriend.]

I’m beginning to think things like, “Fat people shouldn’t hike” and “I’m not resting. I decided to do this hike, it’s my fault I’m fat. I don’t deserve to rest.” At one point the group rested again and Shelly insisted that I stop for minute. I wish I could remember more of her from that day. It’s all foggy to me. I didn’t rest long enough to drink much water and had a migraine later that evening.

There was one part that wasn’t such a climb and I was saying something about how I’m carrying a bunch of extra weight. Ireland was in the very front and Dusty was walking behind me. I told Dusty I was carrying as much weight as a gymnast. You know, they weigh about 100 lbs. She said, with great understanding in her voice, “Oh, is that how much your camera bag weighs?” I laughed out loud, as in LOL. I said, “No Dusty, I’m fat!” She laughed and said, “Oh”. Then from the front Ireland says, “You’re not fat, you’re fluffy!” Ah yes, that’s much better, isn’t it?

Well, no matter the case, I am going back to that place and going to go to the very top. I had to turn back and I hated to do that. I’m going to go back and get to the top. Ireland and I jogged most of the way down. That was fun until some real trail joggers passed Ireland and I by.

Here’s some photos from that day, by clicking on them you can see the photos better:

I miss…

Today’s challenge is all about something I miss. It’s 11:09 PM. I’m just sitting down to write this.

It’s also Mother’s Day. Painful. A reminder to me and my adopted kids of something lost and broken. The day was tragic. Yet, at the same time I can honestly and whole heartedly say that it was the best Mother’s Day ever. That makes me feel joyous and sad at the same time. I won’t go into the details of it because I’ve already told my 2 best friends and it’s not worth talking about.

I always thought I missed the idea of having a mom. Today I realized that I don’t miss that. I miss the ideal of being totally honored as a mom. It never  happened before, but this year my kids tried. Really hard. Well, all except one. But again. I don’t want to talk about that with you.

This year Mother’s Day was better. Dusty made me perfect fried eggs by watching how I do them, she said: “and it actually worked”. You think so? 3 of my kids hugged me today and one of them was Dusty. She hated me last year. Things are definitely looking up.

Mother’s Day 2012

Memories of my Mom

Other bloggers write about what they miss here: Story of My Life.

Sell Myself?

Today’s challenge is to sell myself in 10 words or less. Seriously? You’re asking this rambling girl to be succinct. Ok. I will. I will only list positive things since those are the hardest for me.

  1. LOYAL
  2. STRONG
  3. WARRIOR
  4. DETERMINED
  5. DREAMER
  6. PLANNER
  7. PHOTOGRAPHER
  8. WRITER
  9. FUNNY
  10. TALKER

And now, I’ll leave you with a picture of me for your viewing pleasure.

beauty

Oh wait, just kidding. I’m not that dark.

IMG_2013

 

Unknown to me, Ireland took this shot. I was looking around to see if anyone was coming because I was about to practically lie down on the narrow bridge to take a picture and I didn’t want someone to see me and cry out, “Oh my gosh!!! Miss, are you okay? MISS!!! Someone, call for help.” Then I’d be like, “Um, I’m taking a picture.”

 

Embarrassing Moments

Well, today’s challenge is all about those pesky embarrassing moments. I honestly can think of only a few, but I’m sure there are more.

Grade School – things that should have embarrassed me, but didn’t

  • 1st grade: I was wearing my red dress like the one Daddy Warbucks gave to little orphan Annie. I was wearing cute little white anklet socks and shiny black shoes. It was show and tell day. I skipped up to the front of the classroom, gave a twirl or two, curtsied, then said, “I’m wearing Wonder Woman Underoos and I love them.” By that time everyone had had a peak at my underoos from my twirling. This skirt made a perfect circle at my waist when I spun around. Perfection! 
  • 1st grad: I kissed the elbow of the boy I had a crush on. His name is Paul and he was tall. I could only reach his elbow at the drinking fountain.

Middle School

  • Walking along the beach in the middle of the night, or at least very late at night, with some boys my friend Tanya and I met at a Thousand Trails: I tripped because it was dark. I said, “I’m such a slut.” Nobody says a word. The nice boy I’m with says, “I think you mean klutz.” I had to think about it and then I died a thousand deaths right there in Pacific City. 

Highschool

  • While at the mall with friends from my youth group and our leader, Teresa, I was staring at the totally gorgeous boy at the check out in a clothing store when I ran into someone. Turning toward this person, I said, “Oh, sorry, OH OH, I’m…uh….” I look at the boy, he looks at me…I had just run into a pillar that had mirrors. I was apologizing to my reflection. 
  • My sweet friend Andy came up to me from behind wrapping his jacket around my waist. I looked at him weird and he just said, “I’ll give you a ride home so you can change.” I didn’t know what he was talking about and probably told him such. I remember him looking me in the eye and saying, “You are wearing white pants. You need to go home to change. I will take you.” OH MY GOSH!!!!! Seriously!!!!!! That was probably the last time I ever wore white pants. I was horrified. He never mentioned it.
  • Summer camping with the youth group. I had met a super cute boy from California earlier that summer. Quiet. Strong. Eyes blue like the tropical sea. We swam in the ocean. Oh wait, no, I didn’t swim. I was dragged out into the ocean and couldn’t swim to save my life. He rescued me. For reals! Then I show him my appreciation by picking up “dead” baby jellyfish on the beach and putting one on his chiseled pec. [I don’t know that it was chiseled, actually.] The jellyfish stung him. He forgave me by taking me on motorcycle ride on the beach. He didn’t end up marrying me when we grew up. He was probably afraid I’d kill him.

Grown up

  • Hmmm, none of the ways I have been embarrassed as a grown up is appropriate to share and it happens WAY  more often than it should. I’ll open the door right open and hold up a sign that says, “Look, I just did something stupid, please take advantage of that.”
  • Last staff meeting I was very embarrassed. Enough that I actually turned red, stammered, then just shut my mouth.

So, stories of embarrassment  that are shareable aren’t really that funny unless you were there, but darn it, I committed to blogging every day in May.

In other news:

  • Christopher goes to his first prom tomorrow. We picked out his tux the other day and I couldn’t believe it. How did we get here? 
  • Tomorrow we’re going on a hike that I won’t actually get to finish because it’s 7  miles and I have to get back to make sure Christopher gets to his prom date’s house on time and I’ll need to take pictures, of course.
  • I just about fell asleep at my computer just now.

Goodnight!

If you want my opinion…

…then you shall have it.

I’ve rewritten this post so many times and one word keeps coming back to me.

Grace

Practice it. Live it. Extend it to others.

  • When you see that tired and grumpy checker at the store, smile sincerely at them and make some conversation.
  • See that mama over there with her kids hanging off the cart? She’s so tired, she can’t function. Yay for her that she got out of the house today. Smile at her, too, and let her know it’s alright. {Do not tell her to cherish those moments. She certainly doesn’t need to.}
  • A driver cuts you off, maybe they’re a jerk or maybe they’ve received bad news. Or both.

I am not a gracious person. I am harsh with my children and I judge women by their hair, makeup, and eyebrows. Myself included.

I will be a woman who extends God’s grace to the souls around me. I want people to feel the touch of the Father that loves us so when I have an encounter with them. I know that doesn’t always happen. I’m distracted, tired, in a hurry like everyone else.


If moved to do so, please visit Story of My Life for more advice giving blogs.

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

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Oh boy, these prompts for the Blog Every Day in May challenge are getting harder.

We’re supposed to talk about our fears. I wonder if  maybe I should be funny to turn the attention away from what I’m really afraid of. No. I want to be authentic. Imperfect. Real.

Not so much for me, but for you. In the past few years I have read stories of incredibly brave women who were willing to tell the world that they weren’t perfect. It gave me permission to not be perfect. I learned of grace and community. I read of women across the globe connecting and supporting one another. I wanted that, too, but God was has been calling me to start closer to home.

I’ve been called to build right here where I live in Sheridan. Our church went through a series about a  Culture of Honor; what I was hearing scared me. Every week, I kept thinking about how these are the people I am to build a life with. It took me many months to get the courage up to reach out. It started with telling 2 women that I wanted to build a friendship with them, but I didn’t know how to do that.

Right there, that’s my biggest fear.

Building a real deep, vulnerable friendship with women. Yo, us women scare me. We have such a great ability to be nice to someone’s face then tear them down as soon as their back is turned.

[There are very few people I am completely vulnerable with, one of those is Chani.]

Why do women scare me? Well, it’s particularly Christian women. Not only do they do what I mention above, but then they tie your  worth or goodness into it with a dose of self-righteousness to hide the fact that they’re not any different. I am a woman. I am a Christian. I am sure I’ve done that, too. But I tell you, I’m more likely to go talk to my friend who used to be a Christian than one who still is.

[I feel sick in the pit of my stomach right now. This is too honest, I think.]

To be vulnerable would be to say, “Hey, here’s my ugliness. Love me anyway. Here’s what I’m struggling with. Here, let me hand you my heart.” Will they crush it? Will they pretend to care then gossip about me? Will I fit in? They are perfect with their perfect husbands and their perfect kids. Have they been in my place?

What do I even need from them? Compassion. Accountability. Love. Acceptance. The, “Hey, we’re all sinners. I get it. How can we help you? No judging here. What is God saying to you about this? The sin, it has to go, but we’ll walk you through. Tough day? We’re here. Alone? No, you’re not. This is your journey and there is grace even for the ugly, especially for the ugly. God is with  you. I am with  you.”

My heart is feeling a little raw right now.

As I write this, I hear the words from an old hymn over and over:

I hear the voice of Jesus say
Come unto me and rest
Lay down,  oh weary one
Lay down your  head upon my breast

I think I’ll do that right now, thank you very much. This is hard work right here!

*Read about the fears of hundreds of other women over at Story of My Life. You might just read a couple…

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