Happy Birthday Mom! Musings and Messes From Your Daughter.

Remember when you’d spend hours upon hours making breath-taking wedding cakes in the tiny little Alabama kitchen with me and my sister playing at your feet?  How when a cake didn’t turn out right, instead of tossing it into the trash you’d give it to us so we could spend hours on end making messy roses and crazy frosting patterns that you deemed were a masterpiece?  Yes, you did that.  And it was good.  And I remember the way you smiled at me.

Remember when, after the divorce, we were struggling and living on patio furniture in the living room and you decided to go back to college while working full time and taking care of four kids?  How when you’d lock your bedroom door and we’d hear you crying from the other side, and we’d have cinnamon toast for dinner?  Then, when you graduated.  When you walked the stage and took that diploma in your hand and owned every minute of every struggle so that you could better your life, our lives?  Yes, you did that.  And it was good.  And I remember how inspired I was.

Remember when, after we were estranged for so many years, you came to visit me and we stood in my living room in Iowa and didn’t know where to start?  How you took a deep breath, looked me right in the eye and admitted that sometimes as a mom you didn’t feel worthy?  Yes, you did that.  And it was good.  And I remember how I was so relieved because I felt the same way too as a mom and how we decided to love each other anyway.

Remember when I was a self absorbed brat who blamed everyone around her for her pain?   How I now call you everyday, sometimes twice a day, even though I’m 40 something and a Grandma myself because I can’t go a single day without hearing your voice?  How your sense of humor, prayers, and gentle reassurance that I am loved comforts me. Your patience did that.  And it is good.  And I remember, everyday, how much I value what you, as a woman, have gone through and how you, as my mother, have loved me.

Remember when we, one day, decided that the past wasn’t going to overpower the future and that we were super women hero’s who could defy all the odds and be best friends in the end?

Remember when I wrote a birthday letter to you and put it online and embarrassed the Sh&t out of you?

I love you mama.  Happy Birthday.

Thanks for being exactly, wonderfully, amazingly you.

momandme2

 

 

 

 

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Motivated to Love: From Death’s Door to Heaven on Earth.

Everywhere we look we are inspired to love.  From self-help books to the Bible to do gooder’s on social media who remind us that there is hope in mankind; when we look for it, we see the evidence of love.  Love though … sometimes it’s not as easy as paying for the person behind you in the drive-thru or making smiley face chocolate chip pancakes for the kids.  It’s hard.  It’s selfless.  It’s messy.

I had been married for 19 years when my husband divorced me.  Oh, he had every reason and they were all good.  I was a selfish, manipulative, strung out bi-polar with no intent on changing.  I’d had several suicide attempts but yet refused to get help.  My husband, despite how much he loved me, knew he had to let me go.  I was either going to face reality or drop off the cliff, but he was no longer willing to go there with me or allow our children to witness the chaos of my ignorance.

Homeless, jobless, money-less, and without any family I ended up staying with an old friend,  in her basement.  It was late one night when rock bottom came crashing down around me and having lost everything I’d ever loved I got on my knees next to the mattress on the floor and I decided that I was going to end it.  I was tired.  Tired of the fight, tired of the failure, tired of never being good enough.  I thought everyone would just be so much better off without me messing everything up all the time.  Yes, I decided, I was doing the people I loved a favor.

Compelled by some reason to pray first, I bowed my head as the tears flowed and I prayed, “God, if you have any favor in me, please accept me into Heaven despite what I’m about to do.  I’ve tried everything, everything, and nothing’s worked.  I’m too tired now.  I tried.”

As I prepared to stand to go get the pills, I was racked with shivers, as if electricity shot through my head down into my toes and it froze me in place.  Then, in my mind, I heard the words loud and clear, “You haven’t tried everything yet.”

Now, I’m not going to say it was the voice of God, and I’m not even going to say I understood what was going on, but it was enough to quiet me.  It was enough for me to pause, and wonder … what haven’t I tried?

“You haven’t done it MY way.” I hear.   Love.   Truly, authentically, unselfishly, perfectly love.  I collapsed.  In a whirlwind of thoughts swimming around me I could see how, for all my life, I’d been in survival mode.  It was all about me and what I could get, what I needed to make it another day.  Approval, validation, praise.  In my insecurity, which started as a little girl who was abused for many years, I operated in performance  mode.  If I did this, you’d do that.  If I say this, you’ll say that.  If I act this like, you’ll act like this back.  I saw how I’d pushed so many people away because I was so needy to be accepted.  I was loving others, not because I truly wanted to bless them, but because I needed them to love me back.

“Okay,” I said into thin air.  “Okay.  It’s not about me, I get it.  I’ll do it your way.  I’ll love without expectation.  My motivation will be only to show my family how much I truly do love them, so that they know.  Once they know … I’m taking myself out.  You get 2 months God.”

I still didn’t get it obviously.  But, it was a start.

I did everything I could possibly do to begin building my life again.  Once I decided to live, even temporarily, and once I decided to love, without expectation, things slowly began taking form.  I did everything I could to re-build from tossing newspapers at 4 am to working in a call center collecting debts, and finally a retail sales job with education benefits.  My husband allowed me to see the kids every weekend, and while I felt so incredibly guilty for not being able to take them anywhere because I was so broke, we spent our weekends playing dance off party, at the park, or simply sitting around talking.  I was re-bonding with my babies.  I started college.  I rented a little house.  All in month one.

Then, the bigger step.  Getting help.  Therapy and medication started.  I knew going into it that it was only for another month, but I’d promised myself I’d try everything I’d never tried before, so I went for it.   Another week came and went, and my ex-husband, sitting in the garage on his new motorcycle, said as I came to pick up the kids, “You look different.”

“I do?”  God he looked good on that bike.

He nodded, “Yeah.  It’s a good look.”

“Well, that bike looks pretty good on you too,” I say.  We laugh.  For the first time.

He calls on me to help when help is needed and I am there.  I begin to make enough money to treat the kids and give them their own bedroom in my house.  I work 40 hours a week and do several online classes and two on campus classes and every ounce of my time outside is spent with the kids.

I’m 7 weeks in and my youngest daughter says to me, “I like the way you are now Mama.”

I wonder.  Maybe I’ll extend another month.  Heaven can wait a few more days.

As my motivation to love shifted from getting my own needs met to meeting the needs of others, my life started to become easier.  I wasn’t thinking about who cared about me, who was paying attention to what I was doing, or if I was good enough.  I was just, well, living.  The joy in my heart grew every time I gave.  My confidence sky rocketed.

I slowly began to see that I had something of value to offer, and that it was good.  It didn’t need a billboard of praise or a gift of thanks, it was the first petal on a Spring flower that bloomed after the freeze and existed even if no one ever saw it.  It just was.

Two months turned to four which turned to six.  I was excelling at work, my children were beginning to trust me, I was facing some dark demons through therapy, and the new medication was curbing the mania.  I began reaching out to my extended family, asking for grace and forgiveness for the pain I’d caused and hoping to start again.

Eight months later I went to pick up the kids and my ex-husband, in the garage working on his bike, caught me off guard, “Hey, uh, I just wanted to say thanks.”

“Thanks for what?” I ask.

He stood, slowly and came closer to where I stood.  Taking my hand in his, “For loving us enough to change.  I  see what you’re doing.  It’s a good thing.”

Later that week I got a call late at night from him, “Hey, I was wondering if you’d wanna do lunch tomorrow? If not, that’s cool, just asking.”

Never in a million years did I ever expect that my ex husband would ask me to go to lunch with him.  I was treading lightly on the soft waters of his heart, and I knew, going into this, he deserved the very best I had to offer and if I was honest with myself, I had to also ask if I was that best.

“Friends, right?” I asked over a Panera Asian salad.  He smiled, “Yeah.  Friends.”

I saw my ex in a different light that day, a man who had loved me more than anyone else ever had but who had the courage to stop being an enabler and protect his children from further damage.  I saw the pain in his eyes, the having to let me go, but I also saw a new light forming there.  Confidence.  Trust in himself.  We had both grown through our loss of one another, having chosen to be motivated to love without condition.

We started secretly getting together behind the kids’ backs.  Motorcycle rides through the country side, late night phone calls, lunches, and often times just sneaking off for a few hours to sit in the car and talk.  Friends.  Just friends, I kept telling myself.

Nearly a year later I was washing dishes in my kitchen in my little rental house when the kids came rushing through my front door.  I was surprised because it wasn’t my day or weekend to have them, “What are you doing here?”

Their eyes were wide, their breathing rushed, and I could tell they were so excited about something.  My youngest daughter spoke first, “We gotta tell ya something!”

They pulled out a chair and sat me down in it, all gathering around me.  Then, without warning, in walked my ex-husband.

With the children gathered around me, he got down on one knee.  They all said, at the same time, in unison together, “We want you to come home.”

My ex-husband and I remarried in 2013 and have been blissfully overcoming our past history for a glorious five years and counting.

I get down on my knees almost every night before bed, and I pray the same prayer …

“… Thank you.  Hold my spot.  I’m not coming anytime soon.”

I continue to check myself daily, asking the hard question … what is my motivation?  Am I self-seeking right now, am I wanting something in return, or am I simply loving to bless?  Am I being the real me, a woman who has value, or am I performing so others will give me the feedback I think I need?  It’s an on-going process, a daily refresher course, but what I do know for sure … what will always and forever be true for me isn’t just the fact that the night I wanted to die God saved me; but that he taught me love.

I hope you get the opportunity to love today.  I hope that my story reminds you that you are worthy to be loved, as much as you are called to love others.  Sharing the ugly, dark parts of my life is not easy, but we all have them and we’ve got to stick together to remind one another that we’re not in this alone.  Be kind to yourself, and love with your whole heart.

And chocolate chip smiley face pancakes help too.

 

 

 

 

 

3 Lies About Friendship

3Lies_igniteyourtruth3 Lies About Friendship

There are fabulous friendships to be had, but we tend to let the lies we tell ourselves get in the way of deeper and more fulfilling friendships.  Are any of these 3 common lies getting in the way of you and your friend?

She thinks she’s better than me.

Whether she has made a new friend, gotten a promotion, or lost ten pounds – stop telling yourself that she’s better than you.  As we feel our friends move forward, sometimes we may feel left behind a little.  The lie, that you are feeling you have to compete, will steal your opportunity to jump on the band wagon with your friend and better yourself in your own ways!  Allow her positive change to motivate and empower you rather than to isolate and become envious.  You’re only feeling like she’s better than you because YOU are feeling that you’re not at YOUR best.  Ignite your OWN truth and dig deep with your talents and gifts and share these things with your friend to encourage and foster an empowering friendship!

All I do is just give, give, give .

Each of us has our own way of giving and receiving love and if you’re not in tune with your friend on the ways that she receives and gives love, you’re going to constantly feel like you’re giving your all and getting nothing in return.   Here’s the truth:  What you’re giving to her may not be what she needs, in fact, what you’re giving to her is your own need.  Stop and think about the things that your friend does for you – because what she gives are the things that she would like in return.  Start giving those things to her, verses what you want to give, and you’ll see a shift in what she gives back.  I’m a talker, but I have a friend who is a gift giver.  I had to learn that she receives love by gifts, and once I figured that out and started giving her small treasures and trinkets … she start talking more!  Find your friends love language.

If she knew who I really was, she wouldn’t be my friend.

A good friend knows you inside and out.  You can be the same person with her out in public as you are by yourself behind closed doors.  If you can’t be the real you … it’s not a friendship you need to spend a lot of investing in.  But before you decide that … I dare you to open up.  9 times out of 10 when I’ve come clean about my Abilify taking, late night cocktail drinking, crying fests and how I still to this day sometimes feel insecure … my friend’s eyes go wide and I heard, “Oh my gosh … you too?”  You are valuable and everything about you is unique – if you’re not bringing your full self to the table in your friendship then it’s not a solid friendship.  Let go of your fear, stop judging yourself so harshly, and embrace your truth.  If she does reject it, you’ve done yourself a favor and gotten out of a one sided relationship!

 Turn them around today and Ignite Your Truth! http://www.igniteyourtruth.com

Author. Speaker. Wonder Twin. Bold & Emotionally Charged Words that Speak To the Heart.

How To Start the Conversation: Strong Friendship

HOW-TO-HAVE-STRONG-FRIENDSHIPSBuilding strong friendships starts with An Authentic Conversation: Real.  Relevant.  Empowering.

1:  Be Specific!

Drop the “How are you doing?” and go for the, “Tell me what you’re dealing with right  now.”  Too weird?  Try, “I really value you in my life, and it’s been on my heart to really get to know you better.  I know what you’ve been doing, but tell me how you’ve been  feeling?”  Or, go for the gusto, “Do you ever feel like our friendship could be more than  what it is?”  Ask specific questions that are on your heart to ask – don’t be afraid to get specific and vulnerable!

2:  Listen!

As hard as it is to not make it about you or what you’ve gone through or how  you can relate, sometimes, we just need to be heard.  Listening is an act of love.

3:  Confirm!

Repeat back what you’ve heard to your friend and validate that you’ve really  listened to her.  Don’t be afraid to express your emotions and let her know how much joy it brings that she trusts you enough to share her heart with you!

4: Support & Empower!

Drop the “Well, what can I do to help you?” and go for the, “I’m going to help – we’re  going to get through this together.”  Offer ideas instead of advice. And then, follow through with affirmation – tell her how strong she is, how beautiful, and that she is more than capable because she has refused to give up!  Empower her with your support, and create action in your relationship.  Schedule your next get  together and follow up with a phone call!

5:  Be Open To Receiving!

What we receive from our friendships is in direct correlation to what we give.  As you  move forward in your authenticity to truly love and support, you will soon discover that  your friend will gain more trust in you and this in turn will free her to be more of who she is with you.  Your value, the gifts and qualities that you bring to the table, will begin to shine and your cup will be overflowing with her ability to give back.  Whatever you desire from your friendship …. start by giving it today!

Strong Friendships are built by strong women … embrace your strength!

WONDER TWINS ACTIVATE!  CLICK HERE FOR THE PODCAST!

How Do I Reach Out For Help?

Pregnant+teenager

Snow fell into my footsteps as I walked, and when I looked back it was as if I didn’t exist.  Like I was just standing, out of nowhere, and there was nothing to prove I’d come this far.  My back ached, the only evidence that I’d been walking, and I rubbed my swollen belly.  I hoped my baby was not as cold as I felt.

I’d remembered there was a church up in the distance, my saving grace.  I didn’t have anywhere else to turn.  I was homeless and pregnant at sixteen.  Amy, my best friend of three years, had been letting me sleep on her couch but she was in the hospital now.  A pot of boiling water, tipping in one painful second, scorching her paralyzed legs – she would have major surgery.  I’d had to go.

The Vineyard looked desolate, but as I edged closer I could see a light on inside, up the grand stairs reflecting inside the expanse of windows.  The door was open.  A rush of warm air held me, and stepping inside I realized I was going to have to ask a stranger for help.  I shivered.

The Pastor was kind hearted, offering me warm tea and a chair in his office before asking me, “How can I help you?”

The question was too big for me.  There were so many things I needed help with, so many choices that led me to this very moment.  I don’t know when I started crying, but the tissue was starting to fall apart in my hand when he gently asked, “Do you have a place to go tonight?”

Nodding my head no, he immediately picked up his telephone and began making phone calls, telling the other person on the phone that there was a young expecting girl without a home tonight.  Would someone help?

I’d walked nearly three miles and my feet had swollen up, the tears fell so heavy they couldn’t dry, and my little baby was kicking against my ribs as if to tell me, “Someone will help us.”

_____________

helpAsking for help, in and of itself, requires us to be completely vulnerable – to let loose of our ego, to accept our limitations, and admit that we need.  For some of us, this is the most difficult thing to do because we fear that others will think us weak and incapable.  We have a tendency to pretend to the outside world that all is well and fine, but on the inside we are weeping and crying out … most of us convince ourselves that if people love us they will come to us, they will see our need, and we don’t have to admit we need them.

This leads to our feeling isolated, uncared for, unloved, and unseen.  We internalize not only our own needs, but now – we listen to the lie that if we were really truly loved; someone would have reached out to us.

Ask for help.  It is not a sign of weakness, it is a movement in courage.  It is your standing up in your life, and for yourself, and in that one act of vulnerability … you are changing your life and the lives of those you reach out to.  You are creating powerful change.

Who do you reach out to?

Reach out to someone you respect, someone in your life who has a positive influence on you.  One of the mistakes we can make when we finally become vulnerable in our need is to try reaching out to someone who really isn’t equipped to help us.  Maybe, they are in need so much so too, that they just aren’t able to give you what you need.  So, when you think about reaching out, consider someone in your life who has the tools and the resources to really help.

How Do I Ask for Help?

Sometimes, we get ourselves so down and to the point of what seems like no return that our need builds and builds and before we realize it, even thinking to ask for help is impossible because if someone were to say, “How can I help you?” We wouldn’t even know where to begin.  One step at a time.  Choose your immediate need – sit down and write a list of areas in your life that you are struggling with.  What is the main issue you are dealing with?  Once you deal with ONE thing … the rest will fall into place.  You can even say, “I am so overwhelmed that I don’t even know where to begin, but I do know I need help.”

If you’re not ready to walk to a church, call a therapist, or maybe you aren’t even ready to leave the house and put yourself out there … that’s okay.  I encourage you to reach out to a life coach.  My own life coach, Jen Kelchner, who is a part of Restitution’s Creative Team, is available for online coaching.

In the meantime, if this story spoke to you in any way, please feel free to contact me.  We are all in this together.  Nothing is ever in vain, and you aren’t alone.

Reach.

 

 

 

Email Therapy From My Father

Feeling_Grizzly-1600x1200

 

Court, Some days you get the bear… and some days the bear gets you!

Don’t be hard on yourself, just do what you can and live to fight another day and if you can, laugh a lot at yourself!

Remember victory and defeat are both liars. One tells you that you are untouchable and the other yells that you are a total failure.

Living on the mountaintop, we just laugh at both as we simply live each moment and let the liars follow behind fighting over the spoils.

 

If all is truely well with you then you are fine when the sun shines and fine when the wind blows. You are eternal and all of this worlds hyjinks are just a play

I love you so much

Dad

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