Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lessons Learned

Earlier today I found myself running back over some of my misdeeds from years ago. I have a habit of doing that to myself, but I'm learning to stop and to remind myself of the truth in those moments. Then I thought there are probably others who need those reminders too. Plus, I usually remember things a little better if I write (type) them down. Here's to remembering those lessons learned, right?
  1. Most important! The past is the past and you either move on and learn from it or you can stay focussed on the wrongs and stay in the same place forever. I'd rather keep moving forward.
  2. Who cares who knows about what you did wrong?! If they weren't involved they probably don't know what they think they know, and if they were involved, well, then it's their misdeed too! Ahem, I think that's all we all need to know about that. Let's all hold our heads up and move on. Shall we?
  3. Speaking of holding our heads up, you are not what you did wrong. Unless you are Jesus Christ, we have all committed some type of indiscretion some where some time. You can't let it define who you are or any decisions you make for the rest of your life. Don't be ashamed, and don't let anyone else make you feel that way. 
I'm 36 years old and I still have to have these conversations with myself sometimes, but I'm getting bettter at telling the negative voice to shut up and reminding myself of the truths above. How about you? Do you have a mantra that you remind yourself when the past rears it's ugly head at you? *I'm not asking anybody to share misdeeds, just strategies to shut down negative thoughts. Thanks!*

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Beautiful Way to End a Bad Week

Today is Sunday. The start of a new week. And thank God for it because this past week has been enough for me.

Meriah, over at With a Little Moxie, is hosting a blog hop focusing on finding the beauty. So, I dug up some old photos of Liza from the first day of school, cause they never fail to bring a smile to my face.

I hope they make you smile too. Take a load off. Decompress. Let's hope this coming week is a beautiful one. And, go to Meriah's blog and check out the other pics :)

Love her face in this one! LOL

She was really excited about all the cars going by that morning.

I think this one is my favorite. She's rubbing her hands
together cause she's SO excited. How can you not smile?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

No Longer Worthless - Thanks For That

"Abuse is all about getting and keeping power and control. A person who lives in fear and who has been shamed into a sense of personal worthlessness is a person who is much easier to control. Abusers know this. They know it by nature. They didn't have to take a course to learn it. It is who they are." Pgs 75-76 of "A Cry for Justice"

I read that on the "A Cry for Justice" Facebook page the other day and the "personal worthlessness" part stuck out to me, because I had picked up that "sense" somewhere along the way. That's why I always ended up in relationships with men who only wanted to use me and/or abuse me. I know that now and I feel that I've overcome that feeling of not being worth anything. In fact, I think I had begun to overcome it BEFORE I ever left my marriage and I was shocked to realize that I have some of the people who have since turned their backs on me to thank for helping me begin that overcoming.

I'm not sure how they're going to feel about that, and honestly I don't care, because this is my story and my journey - they only played a small part in it.

So, to you, the one who taught me to play piano and constantly told me how awesome, funny, amazing, and "Christ-like" I was: Thank you for that! You planted the seeds to help me to begin to realize that I DID have worth and that my children and I didn't deserve to live in the environment we'd been in for too long.

Even though you used manipulation, guilt, and fear tactics to try to get me to return to that environment and "pray it out". Even though you turned on me, and turned your back on me, when I refused. Even though you talked about me, and others you used to love and affirm and our "mistakes", on your blog. I can see now that I owe you at least a small debt of appreciation for planting those seeds. I am 100% serious about this.

I've only alluded to one person here, but there were others. They were good friends to me - until I left on oppressive situation, and yeah, that was hard but it was their friendship that helped to begin to build me back up. I've been able to build on what they started in the two years that I've been free and I feel like I am returning to the person that I was always supposed to be.

I really do appreciate that.

*If you think you may be in a verbally/emotionally abusive situation, or if your partner has ever been physically abusive towards you/children/pets, I would really encourage you to read "The Verbally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans. You may even be able to find it in your local library, I did. You can also check out this list at The Hotline - there is a number you can call to talk to someone confidentially. Even if your partner is a Christian, a pastor, a high standing member of your church, etc, abuse of any kind towards you and/or your children is NOT ok and you DON'T have to endure it. Christ calls you to freedom and He doesn't ask you to endure oppression by anyone.*

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Liza Reads a Book!

This is what I caught Liza doing today. I was so excited!! But, I managed to hold my excitement in until after she was finished cause I was so afraid she would stop if she knew how happy it was making me. I'm laughing over that last sentence but I'm totally serious. You just have to know this chick.....

I was so shocked and amazed and proud. This is a kid who had no concept of a book almost 3 years ago. I remember asking the local Librarians for book recommendations to just get her to sit and let me read to her. Now she's right on the cusp of reading to herself and has carried this book around with her "reading" it almost all day today.

She is awesome!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Morning Sermon: Running without Knowing

*Going along with my last post, in which I said I don't feel like I identify with "Christians", I also don't go to church anymore. Sometimes though, I get these little sermon snippets that pop into my head. I feel like I'm preaching to myself but I also like to share. Maybe this will become a series. We'll see.*

This morning I'm going out running without my phone/gps to tell me how fast I've gone in that last 1/2 mile, or even when I've reached a 1/2 or a mile. No average pace and total time at the end of my run. No logging my time onto Nike+ or Facebook. I'm running technology free, and it is about to drive me mad. I can't stand it. I need to KNOW. Why? I have no clue.

It's silly, right? It's just going out to run one time. Just the fact that I'm out there is good enough. I don't HAVE  to know all the details of this one run to know that I am doing a good thing for my body and my health, right?

There are so many times that I stalled on something that I knew could be good because I didn't KNOW all the extraneous details. I didn't finish a paralegal course I started because I didn't know if I could really handle it, or if I was "good enough". I've stalled on a decision about where my children and I should live because I didn't know everything there was to know about schools for them, or if the yard would be big enough, or or or or or..... You get the picture? Even though I am sure the move will be good in the long run, I've stalled for months because I didn't KNOW.

What about you? Are you stalling on something because you don't know all the answers? Do you think it's ok to leap sometimes not knowing? Or is it safer to always know everything before-hand?

Sometimes, you just aren't going to know. You just have to go.

Now, I'm going to run. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Things I Ponder: Faith in Jesus or Faith in the Church?

*I started writing this over a year ago. When I first left my marriage and was dealing with people I thought were my Christian "friends" treating me as if I were the enemy and the one in the wrong. Since then I really don't feel I identify with the "Church" at all and don't evven like to be called a Christian. Do I still believe in Jesus? Yeah, I do. But, I don't think I'll ever go back to being a "Christian" again.*

For a while now I've been pondering some things that probably won't have me too popular with "The Church" at large, but I've decided that I have to be honest with myself and stop being afraid to say what I believe. I saw a quote taken from To Kill a Mockingbird today that seemed to put my feelings on the subject into words:

They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience. ~ spoken by the character Atticus 

I know that my views on some things aren't going to be shared by a whole lot of people that I've considered friends for years, but I'm ok with that as long as they are. It's when I am treated as "ungodly" or as if I have lost my love for the Lord or I'm disrespected that I begin to have a problem with us having differing opinions. And, I've come to notice that there is far too much of that going on in the Church. It makes me realize why some folks are so against going to church or getting involved with anything Christian at all. But, for me, it's not about the Church and where I stand with "them", it's about Jesus. I have to know where I stand with Him. I have to place my faith in Him and pray everyday that I'm following His heart and not mine. This next quote pretty much sums up what I mean: 

The church is human, and we make mistakes. Sometimes we don't represent God very well at all. But Jesus represented God perfectly as the incarnation of God. He loved the people his culture didn't love, he interacted with people he wasn't supposed to interact with, and he refused to distance himself from the people others called "sinners." Jesus' harsh words were aimed at the religious leaders of his day who, in their zeal for correct doctrine, were pushing people away from God. He didn't run for office or yell at sinners through a bullhorn. He loved, healed, and fed people, and then he let them beat him and hang him on a cross. - in answer to a question about why be a Christian after being battered by The Church.

This quote comes from a Q/A article with a young man who is gay but also happens to be Christian.... wait, you didn't know those two things could go together? I'd say you need to take that up with Jesus. Anyway, this young man, Justin Lee, is the Director of The Gay Christian Network, and author of the book, "Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays vs Christians Debate. The article I mentioned can be found on Rachel Held Evans' blog. I felt like his response was a perfect answer to not only the way he and other's who identify as homosexual have been treated by people in the church but the way that many many others, myself included, have been treated at various times. Simply because we don't look or act like the Christians that the "Church" thinks we should look or act like.

So, that makes me think and ask: Christians who are aiming harsh words at the people Jesus would be loving: who/what is your faith really in? The Church? Or Jesus? 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Almost Summer = More Time for Coffee

I am so glad Summer is almost here. I just can't even express how glad I am. Honestly. Today Liza's teacher called to reschedule the IEP (again) and I told her I'd spoken to the Principal already that morning. But, I called him by HER last name. That was awkward. So, yeah, see where I'm coming from?

Lately, I've been getting up in the morning and not making my coffee first. Because I've been getting up late and if I make coffee, Liza will likely miss the bus. So, I thought things were going ok, despite not having my coffee before starting the "get everybody ready and out the door" routine, but I'm thinking I was wrong. Wanna know how I can tell?
  1. Yesterday I was brushing my teeth and looked over to see my toothbrush still in the toothbrush holder. True story. May have gagged a bit.
  2. Today I put Liza on the bus without her shoes on. Which reminds me, I really should get a nice end-of-year gift for her "Bus-Man" and "Bus-Teacher".
  3. Liza's class had a Happy Meal party and I forgot to send the money and the permission slip. The teacher had to call me to get permission. 
And, those are just a few recent examples of my lack of coffee brain farts.

So glad Summer's almost here. No more waking up early. No more trying to function without coffee. And, no more brain farts... Maybe? Well, we'll see....

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Letters From The Closet - A Review

If you've never heard of Amy Hollingsworth I really encourage you to check her out. She's funny, smart, and open-minded.  Just the kind of person you're glad to know. Oh, and she's a pretty darn good Author too.

Amy and I used to go to Church together, her daughter was actually Liza's Missionettes teacher at one time. Neither of us go to that particular church anymore but we've stayed connected through Facebook - good ole Facebook. How did we stay connected before we had it? Oh yeah, I guess we called people and wrote letters. I've never been any good at writing letters. I had two Japanese pen-pals at one time and I think I just stopped writing to them at one point and never started again (Ladies, if you're seeing this - it was me, NOT you! Seriously....) Thankfully, for the whole World, Amy did not have that problem. She kept up a 10 year correspondence with her High School English teacher, John, and recently released a book that she wrote based on those letters. It's called Letters From the Closet and I just finished reading it the other night. I got a little teary at the end, I'll admit. I said I wasn't going to, but I did.

I started the book not really sure what to expect. I knew it was being called the story of  a relationship between "a gay English teacher and his young female student" but it turned out to be so much more than just that. It's really the story of two people living tucked inside their own "closets" only able to be real with each other, and sometimes not even each other. I've recently been learning to be completely honest with myself and not to color things the way that I want them to be, so that aspect of John and Amy's story really stuck out to me.

I'm gonna be honest and admit that when I first started reading the book I wasn't a fan of John. To me he seemed a little mean, and I felt like he was taking advantage of Amy's age and admiration of him for his own benefit. I surprised myself, though, because the closer we got to the end of Amy's and John's story the more I found myself wanting to know more about him. I even began to sympathize with him and for him. I kinda wish I could've known John myself, now that I've read a little of his story through his letters to Amy, but I think that was part of the point in sharing their letters.

Though this book is a story of the relationship between a gay English teacher and his female student, and it's been accepted by the LGBTQ community (not surprisingly, but sadly, not accepted by the Church) it's so much more than that. It's a story of the desire to be important to someone, don't we all wish for that? It's a story of learning to remove the masks and to be real with the people closest to you, including yourself. I know I struggle with that daily! Mostly, and most importantly, it's a story of how we all have our own closets, and it may even challenge you to look inside yours and decide if you're ready to come out or let some of your secrets out.
Amy said this was a perfect metaphor for her's and John's relationship.
I think it's exactly what I took away from their story.
Or, maybe those are just all my own interpretation. I'm curious to see what yours may be. So, read the book and get back to me. Let me know what you thought of it and if you think the way I see it was even close.

*Disclaimer - the Amazon link above is linked to an Amazon Associates account that belongs to the blog Author - Melissa. However, I wrote this review because I really did read and enjoy the book. Not just because I consider Amy a friend :) *

Sunday, June 2, 2013

My Kid's a Survivor

I saw this picture on Facebook this morning and it made me hold my breath for a moment. Up until a couple of months ago I would have just "liked' it, thought of all the survivors I know, and then moved on. But, this time a survivor lives in my house and every time I really allow myself to think about that I either get choked up or I get angry and want to break something. I'm hoping those are normal feelings for a Mama who's faced down one of a Mama's worst fears.

I kinda mentioned in my last post that one of my boys had a serious health issue we were dealing with, but we were taking it in stride. Cracking jokes and milking it (the Kid) and just pushing thru to do what needed to be done. We're almost on the other side of it now but we still have a little ways to go.

Austin  had thyroid cancer. There, now it's out there.

Let me start at the beginning. Sometime in February Austin had a sore throat that wouldn't go away and kept him out of school a day or two. He never ran a fever so I kept telling him to just take it easy, gargle salt water, suck on throat lozenges, etc. After about five days of him complaining about it I finally took him to the doctor, thinking the whole time that he was just being a drama "queen" (king?). The doc couldn't find anything wrong, strep test was negative so she told him the same things I'd already told him.

The throat started feeling better so we went on with life and then about a week later Austin told me that he had a lump in the right side of this neck. I thought it was just related to the sore throat and would go away on it's own. When another week had passed and the lump was still there, I made another doctor's appointment. 

It was pretty obvious that this time they thought there was something to be at least a little concerned about. We were immediately sent to have blood drawn to check thyroid levels and set up with an appointment to see a surgeon, because he "could get us in for a biopsy before anyone else could". At the time I just thought we were going to learn that he had some type of thyroid issue. Like Hyper or Hypo, or maybe his levels were just off and he'd take some medicine to get it all under control and that would be it. Hoping for the best, you know? Or whatever best might be in a situation like that.

So, to whittle down this long story - we met the surgeon a week later, we had a biopsy done about a week after that visit, and about a week after that the surgeon called to tell me that my 16 year old son had thyroid cancer. Not what I wanted to hear or was expecting, at all.

So, on April 30th Austin had his thyroid removed along with the cancerous nodule. According to all the doctors we've seen he should be fine for the rest of his life now. I can't count how many times I've heard, "if you have to have cancer this is the one to have". Apparently it's almost always caught early and easy to treat. Of course, I'd much rather he never have had cancer in the first place and that he still have the thyroid he was born with. I hate the thought that he has to rely on medicine for the rest of his life now. We still have a few more drives to Charlottesville to see doctors and a Radio-active Iodine treatment to go through, but I think we're almost done with all this cancer craziness. Thank God for that!

I can't type all this out without giving HUGE props to all the doctors and nurses at UVA Hospital in Charlottesville, VA. The surgeon that we've been seeing, Dr. Kane, has been so good to both of us through this whole thing and I'm actually kinda sad that we won't need to see him after these next few check-ups. The nurses at UVA are just all simply amazing. Austin spent two nights in the hospital after his surgery and all the nurses, from post-op to in-patient, were so patient with him and treated him as if he were their child while caring for him. It really helped make the whole ordeal a little easier to bear. So, to all of our UVA peeps, if you're reading this - THANK YOU from the bottom of this Mama's heart!

If you wanna know more about Thyroid Cancer there's a really great website at with tons of information. There are also two groups on YahooGroups: for general Thyroid cancer support and for Pediatric thyroid cancer support. I found both of those groups helpful. If you have questions for me, please leave a comment and I can answer in a comment or I can email you if you'd prefer. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

"Sweets"est IEP Meeting I Never Had

Last night I dreamed that we were having Liza's IEP meeting for next year. Not sure why I'm dreaming about it because I am NOT prepared at all. One of my other children, one of the male persuasion who doesn't like to be mentioned much on "Mar's" (that's Mom for those of you without nutty teenage boys) blog, has a somewhat serious health issue going on and that's been my major focus for the last few weeks.

No worries about the kid. He's doing ok and they say that once he has surgery next week to remove the problem that we shouldn't have to worry about a recurrence of this particular issue. Thank God for that! But, it has added some extra stress to my already usually hectic life. I think he's a little stressed about it but mostly he makes jokes and uses it as an excuse to get out of chores. Example -  Me: What's up with you not doing your dishes? Him: I've been deathly ill Mar! Me: *eyes rolling all over the place*

This is my life.

So, back to my dream.

The school personnel, (the usual suspects: Assistant Principal, Reg Ed Teacher, SpEd Teacher, Speech Therapist, Psychologist) and I are all sitting at the table and I tell them that next year Liza IS going to be included in Reg Ed more than she was this year and if they can't figure out how to make it happen I will get an advocate to come to every meeting with me and take it even further if I have to. They all look at me like they can't believe I would say that to them. 

Then I say, "It's nothing against you all. I really do LIKE all of you but I LOVE my daughter!" then they're looking at me like I've really just  hurt their feelings. Like, why do I love Liza but not them?! LOL (my brain, she's nuts!)

That's when the School Psychologist, Lance Sweets (you know, the baby-faced psychologist from Bones) says to them, while smiling his cute little Sweetsie Smile at me, "That's actually very logical." and I know that he means EVERYTHING I just said and not just the part about liking them but loving Liza.

Then I woke up.

This one stands right up there with my All-Time Weirdest Dreams Ever. Anyone care to interpret?