Monday, September 5, 2016

Miracles and Memories

So back in June I had an incredible experience, and it's caused a rollercoaster of a ride this summer. If you follow me on Facebook, you've probably already seen these, but rather than write them out I'm going to copy them here----

JUNE--Today. I went into a tattoo parlor for my tattoo I’ve been wanting forever to cover up scars from hurting myself as a teenager. A compass, but instead of North- South, I have my kids initials.

The tattoo artist opened her shop early just for me. We chatted as she drew out the design. After a moment, she grew silent before blurting out, 'You know, you remind me of someone I used to know.'

I looked at her carefully. Two of us from such different worlds. 'Where did you know her from?' I asked.
She took in a deep breath. 'From a hospital.' She said.

I felt a tingle down my spine… the one that tells you something big is about to happen. 'What hospital?' I asked.

She named the one that takes suicidal teens. My mouth dropped open. 'I was there too.'

She screamed, 'I knew it!' And grabbed me in the biggest bear hug ever.

Yes. She was there. When I was a teen. When the scars on my arm were fresh and covered in gauze. And now, she was the one to put the tattoo over them that says “Sozo”— healed, whole.

I look at it now… My arm, a place that once represented hopelessness now represents love… More beauty from ashes than I could have ever dreamed.

AUGUST---What's on my mind.... hmmmm. First-- I'm sharing from the heart, so the words might not come out right. Second, this might be a trigger to some. Many of you know that I had a tattoo done in June. It was to cover scars from a suicide attempt as a teenager. Not really cover up, but to make a new memory, if that makes sense. 
So, if you followed the story, by some weird coincidence, the tattoo artist remembered me. She was with me in the hospital all those years ago when my scars were fresh, from her own suicide attempt.
It was an incredible, serendipity moment. It should end there, right?
After the tattoo, I fell into a horrible panic/survival guilt dark period. Because when I was in the hospital, my best friend killed herself. 
I have to pause after I type those words because it still hurts so badly, and I can barely see the screen. She wanted to do it with me.... but I was in such a dark place at the time I didn't understand what she was asking in the card she gave me before my attempt.
The survivor's guilt was, and in some ways, still so hard. So hard. I couldn't save her, my precious friend who'd saved me more than once. I wasn't even able to go to her funeral because I was in the hospital. 
So, today my husband had his appointment for his tattoo. I knew I was going to see the same artist again. 
I dreaded it. Dreaded the memories once again. That sounds so terrible, I know.
It went well. The artist asked for my number so we could meet for coffee and talk. I might be a bit scared to meet her, but I will do it. 
Suicide and depression are hard subjects. What my friend did has had an effect on me All These Years later. A part of my heart will always hurt. A permanent consequence to a temporary problem. And it could have just as easily been her writing this post, if I had been the one not found instead of her. 
If you ever, ever, EVER feel like you are in that dark place, and no one is there....I'm here. I'm not a licensed professional, all I can do is listen. And Care. You aren't alone, and there is light at the end of every tunnel. Your life is important and has a reach so much more than you Can Ever realize. 
((((((((((((((Big hug to anyone who needs it)))))))))))))))))))

Suicide prevention hotline-  1-800-273-TALK (8255) 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Recently, I had an opportunity to speak at MOPS

Recently I had the opportunity to speak at a MOPS program. Now, just for the record, although I'm a public speaker, I'm not a teacher. I just speak on my own life experiences. This is my joy; to share my story with others about what God has done for me. 

It was an amazing experience. Looking out at all those beautiful moms with their babies and foster children, well it didn't feel like it had been all that long ago that I was in their place. Does anyone else think raising kids is the fastest slowest thing that can happen to a person? :) 

Being a parent of young kids is a strange phase in life. I was hardly away from my own past hardships when I was raising babies of my own. It can be very weird to reconcile a painful childhood with raising your own children. My experiences made me determined to teach my kids how much I loved them and how valuable they are. 

But, despite my best effort, I was constantly being hit with guilt, almost like a background “voice” that accused me of things I was failing at. It constantly pointed out how I could have done things better. 

It wasn't until years later that I recognized the "voice" was the same disappointed one of my moms. I don't say that as a slight against her, but to show that those feelings of failure and "not measuring up" are often not from ourselves, but "ghosts" from accusations in our past. 

I remember one particularly difficult day, when the kids were grumpy and fighting, and the house was a disaster. My hair was in a sloppy bun on the top of my head and I still wore the t-shirt from the day before. My husband was on his way home and I was trying to fix dinner as I tripped over toys and the dog. Two kids pushed past me squabbling over something. Another child screamed my name over and over in frustration over a broken toy, and the fourth upended a box of Costco size cheerios all over the floor. 

I felt like I was drowning in chaos. I ran to my room nearly in tears and started to pray. What came out of my mouth was, "I can't do this. I can't get it together. I'm going to ruin these kids." I was so overwhelmed. 

After a minute, I felt like I heard God tell me that my job wasn't to be my kid's perfect parent. Because if I was, why would they need Him? But my job as a parent was to show them unconditional love, and they learned to show it back as they loved me. My job was also to teach forgiveness as we all forgave each other. This thought birthed our family motto--We aren’t the perfect family, we are the forgiving one. And it gave me my first taste of freedom that my job wasn't to be the perfect mom, even though I continued to give it my best effort. 

It was soon after that I began using the "Mad bed" which is a ridiculous name but one the kids understood well. If they felt mad, guilty, or frustrated they could ask to talk with me on the mad bed. This was my bed. As we walked into my room it gave me a few moments to get myself into gear to just listen to what they had to say. The kids knew they could share what they wanted without me responding. I'd just listen. The cool thing about this was even if the child was really frustrated, being able to have that space and security to be heard was enough for them to begin to sort out whatever it was they were struggling with. 

It wasn't always easy for me to stay quiet, but it helped as I saw the fruit of that in their lives. 

The Mad Bed was good for me, too. I realized I had that same freedom with God. To just share whatever was on my heart and not worry about angering Him. That He cared and wanted to hear what I was feeling and just wanted me to be Me, real and transparent with Him. 

This was a new thing for me since I didn't experience that kind of unconditional love growing up. It was a safety that took some time to grow in. 

Through raising kids, and my own heart as a parent, I saw how God cares about us so much. God gets that raising kids is a challenging time. He sees all of our worries and fears, and ways we feel like we fail. He sees our places we are starting to feel weary. He’s not disappointed in us when we struggle. 

Maybe someone needs to hear it today— It’s going to be okay. He loves you. You are good enough. God has a plan, He’s going to get you through this. He gets how hard it is, and will help you to continue. He loves you as a parent. He loves your children. He will never lose you, never not listen, never tire of you, never forsake you, always fight for you. 

He stands with you in every battle you are in. He will never let go of your hand. Even when life looks messy, when life looks the opposite of what you expected, God will bring beauty from those ashes. 

He's brought beauty from mine. I don't have all the answers and I definitely don't have it all together. But I have this-- I know what Love is, and it's because of Him. So for the rest of my life, I will point to that love. 

((((((((((Big hug to anyone who needs it)))))))))))))) 


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New Blog-Talk Radio Interview! :)

A new day-a new chance. Trying to live each day as authentically as I can. Life brings us through so many phases. I used to feel like I wore multiple hats--Mom hat, wife hat, friend hat-- all of these were who I was, but I slid in an out of different characteristics of them depending on who I was with. When I had four screaming kids around me, Mom hat was firmly in place. So much so, that when I'd get together with my friends and all our kids, I struggled because I still wore Mom hat.  I so loved my time out with my friends without kids. That's when I really recharged. Can anyone relate to that?

And as the kids grow, I see another hat returning. One that is more "me," less about a job. Sort of like an old friend.  I'm delving into new areas with conviction. What do I really believe? What really interests me? What are my fears, and are they really founded?

One thing that is consistently important to me is God, my family, and wanting to reach other people who are needing some encouragement. I love reminding people that they are amazing, valuable, talented, and way stronger then they realize.

So it's kind of cool in this season of life to get an opportunity to do that. I was on another blog radio talk show- the Parker J Cole show- .

In other news, I published the sequel in my fiction series, Out of the Wreckage. This series has been awesome for me to write.... I finally get to explore other people resolving painful pasts and moving forward.

Just another rambling post- my diary on line I suppose. :)  Have a great day. ((((((big hug to anyone who needs one)))))))

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hard night tonight

So today I've come to vent. Do you ever feel like you need to vent, and don't know where to turn to? That's sort of where I'm at tonight.

I'm not a young woman. I'm in my 40's, and you'd think I'd have my stuff together. I've been able to raise (and raising) a beautiful family. I have amazing kids, awesome husband. I've seen what a healthy family looks like.

Ye, there's a part of me that's grieving. For some reason this part never really reared it's head while my kids were young.  It's just been recently.

A weird loneliness and sadness over a lack of parents.

There are people my age who've lost their parents. My own dad passed a few years back.

But this is different. It's almost a grief about being cheated. I'm not trying to speak negatively about my parents, but I didn't have any, by their choice. I had pain, abuse, and rejection. I had a mom who sent me to foster care when I didn't do my chores right.

And for years I had to process and work through that pain and abuse. I've done pretty well, but what's left is this horrible grief.

I have friends who post about their parents on Facebook, and it's been like a kick in the teeth recently. I'm happy for them, makes me so thankful for the relationship they have with their parents. But I also see how they, also in their 40's, have had this long supportive accepting relationship with their parents.

I suddenly notice the real loss.

I miss having parents. Miss people and relationships that never existed for me.

Why am I sharing this? Because I need to tell someone. This kind of grief is a kind that no one ever really talks about. Abandonment is not like a death. It's a loss that I just have to keep inside. I know I will get passed this. I know God has a plan. But in the mean time, if there is anyone who can relate to me, just know I get it.  It's a weird painful grief.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Good things with

Wow... what a whirl wind these last couple of days have been.  The pinnacle was the opportunity to share my story on blog radio. I'm including the link, but the show should come with a warning, "Dork ahead lol."  Well, I was trying to be myself... and after the first few nervous minutes it became quite comfortable. is doing ton's of great things to help adult survivors of child abuse. I encourage everyone to check out their site. 

Here's the radio show.

I hope something good comes from me sharing. I hope it will encourage someone else that their story matters.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Goals and realistic expectations

Wow. Summer is almost over.  It’s crazy how fast time flies by.  This summer I finished the writing and editing process of my first fiction book, Wrecked and Yours.  I love the story about overcoming strife is one that resonates with me. This book is about three homeless kids and how they navigate life. As adults they reconnect, and it’s messy, like life often is. It’s their season to make a choice: look at life honestly and deal with it, or continue to run away.  I absolutely loved writing it.

Here’s the book’s page if you’d like to check it out.

As summer winds down I’m thinking about the new school year. It’s caught me off guard this year, so I feel like I’m scrambling a bit. 
Our family is a homeschooling family. Before I share anything else, I just want to say that homeschooling isn’t for everyone.  We all do the best we can and make the best decisions we can for our kids. I support whatever schooling choices parents make for their family.
But, like I said, we felt led to homeschool.  As I add up the years, I realized I’ve homeschooled for 20 years. That’s a long time.  I’m feeling it, let me tell you. 
I remember how each year started. Summer was for scraping out the deals and plotting that years curriculum. We’d start at the first week of September. Everything was bright, shiny. We were on a role!
Hello, first roadblock. It didn’t matter what it was. It could be trying to wrangle soccer practice into the schedule, or  a child forgetting the entire “eight” section in the multiplication table, or another child forgetting what “sit down and read” meant. 
Or it could be something more disruptive. But, inevitable, something was thrown into our day that messed up the entire timetable. And once that was messed up, it was a struggle to get everything back on track again.
And then the guilt came.
So here I am, faced with a new year, and I know the pattern ahead of me. I’d like to do this year without the guilt. I’d like to do it in faith that this will work out, God has a plan. He’s gotten me this far and helped me when I was at my wits end. He’s not going to leave me to flounder now. Because I’ve also seen the pattern of the finished school year: my kids completed the courses set before them (not without a few hair raising days, for sure), and the ones that have graduated have gone on to have successful happy lives. 
And they all learned their “eight” multiplication table.
I wonder what it would have been like if I had been a bit kinder to myself through the years, and given myself more grace.  Structure was something I needed for my teaching style, but I wish I could have hung on a bit tighter to the ultimate goal when life shook my schedule more than I liked. 

So, as September approaches, I just want to encourage anyone reading this to remember to be kind to yourself as you set your own goals for the new season. And that doesn't pertain specifically to homeschooling, but to anything you are planning. Sometimes there’s a few kinks that twist up our expectations. Just hang in there, because one way or another, it does work out. 
*hug to anyone who needs one today*