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A year ago, my husband and I had the talk.
The talk about our family, our future and our plans. We had decided we wanted to expand our family, and we began to allow God to determine the outcome.
Sometimes, they way we think our future should unfold, is not how God unfolds it.
A few months after our “talk”, our family was devastated at the illness and eventual death of my father. My mother’s cancer had escalated and life became a series of unfortunate events. Definitely not what our earlier autumn conversation had planned.
A part of me died inside and I gave up hope, as the shimmery light in the future plans we had made began to fade away.
For nine years I had desired more children, not an hour went by where I didn’t long for another. Daily, my heart broke when I heard of drug addicted mothers that were blessed with a fruitful womb. A bitter seed began to fester, and there were many days it took everything I could to snub out the brokenness I felt. There were days I was broken.
I had always known about the neglected kids in our community. Somehow, any news story or article that surfaced regarding that topic- would ignite a radar in my head, and I would absorb every detail. This, of course- would sometimes fuel my bitter seed. I would be so angry that “these people” were blessed with children, and I was not. But: I remembered….
There was a time we were a family of four.
Twice, to be exact.
Once ended in miscarriage.
The other, ended in my stepdaughter going to live with her biological mother, who once was one of “those people”. And: healing happens, recovery happens. It’s not always a sad ending. For nine years, I raised another woman’s child as my own, and- although it was heartbreaking to no longer be her “main mama”. I knew that it was time for her mama to be her mama.
I realized that was part of God’s plan.
He didn’t design me to be a mama of one, he designed me to be a mother of many.
Six months ago, my husband and I walked into a room to see how we can help fill a need in our community. To become foster parents: to open our home and family to children while their parents worked out situations in their lives. (Sound familiar?)
Most people say they could never do what we are about to do. They say, “I could never give the kid back.” “I would get too attached”
And, they are totally right- to a point. But: there are times when you love someone so much, that you can let them go: because you know they belong where they are going. The best thing, is a kid to be with there (safe) biological family- weather it’s a parent or grandparent… nothing compares with knowing you are where you belong. Yes, your heart will break, you will sob and you will have an emptiness… but: you will have loved, and given what the biological family couldn’t during that time.
Would you rather safe yourself from heartache or save a kid from a shelter?
My husband and I are familiar with the heartache.
We had our test drive.
And, after a long six months of classes, paperwork, and getting our home inspected, we became licensed.
We had our pastor pray over us. He told us he felt our family had a more permanent situation ahead…. (whhhhhaaaaaat?!)
After we became licensed, we went into a waiting phase. I nested. I cleaned every nook and cranny… I inventoried crib sheets and baby clothes… bought diapers and bottles… and waited.
There are things foster parents can choose:
We originally went in thinking 4-6 years old. We didn’t want to do diapers again… but God made the call on our hearts and one night, while we were driving home from one of our classes, we decided newborns. My daughter was even more thrilled, as she’s been enamored with babies and diapers since she was 3. So the decision for age became ages 0-4.
The gender option we gave to God, and prepared ourselves with both boy and girl clothes… scooping up outfits at thrift stores at the bargain price of 3 for $1.00.
The question of how many… we live in a tiny house. Not tiny house like on HGTV but, a smaller, older 1950’s home. So.. that was an issue… hubby and I said just one, then:
God laughed at our plan… so it’s two.
Sometimes, my daughter and I drive around and look at big houses and play a game called “how many kids?” Basically we guess how many kids we would foster if we lived in a bigger house….
Earlier this week, “the call” came. Actually, it was a text/email.Then, I made “the call” to my hubby. A baby girl, four days old. Without hesitation, he said yes.
Next came the phone calls, the placement coordinator, and the licensing specialist and DCF… hours felt like eons. We were supposed to get her from the hospital…. final step was coordinating times. Then, a set back.
Baby needed to stay a little longer in the hospital.
We tried to go see her, but systems were not updated, so we were denied visitation.
Our hearts are aching in the waiting…..
God has called us, and now we wait.
For the call.
Those that know me, (even those that don’t know me that well) are aware of a few things about me:
I plan. I love planning, making lists and basically “knowing” what lies ahead… I like to know what’s for dinner, what the weekend holds, when house guests are leaving, and around what time my husband should be home.
Jesus says: “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I also say, “People plan, God laughs.”
“Each day has enough trouble of it’s own”, of course. There are many times “my plans” fall apart. There are days that bring seasons of trouble, of pain, sadness, grief and tears. If I would have had known the “plans” for what lay ahead of me two years ago, I probably would have burned my day planner and never gotten out of bed.
Over the past two years, our family fell apart, when my stepdaughter I raised 9 years left to live with her biological mother. I felt defeated, abandoned and resentful.
Over the past year the unthinkable happened to my own daughter, and we worked through the trauma of abuse. I felt helpless, lost, and confused.
Over the past six months, my father began the final months of his life, and he crossed over on April 7th. I felt sadness, guilt, and emptiness.
And, finally over the past month a hope I had for many years was laid to rest.
I felt hopeless.
The past two years have not been all misery, however. The past two years held gems of memories, of healing, hope and victory.
Healing of families. Reunification of mothers and daughters that belong together.
Healing of trauma. There is life after abuse. Things do get better.
Healing of grief. Make every day count. Make the best of whatever time you’re given. Make memories. Don’t stress.
Finding hope. This is probably the most difficult…
Hope is like a small treasure, that can easily be lost in the grasp of the enemy.
I lose hope often. Most people don’t know that about me. I am usually that friend that will cheer you up and help you to see the brighter side of things…. I just have a hard time doing that to myself. I lose hope more than people lose socks. So, when I find a treasure of hope glimmering in my thoughts, I say “don’t get your hopes up”. I crush it every time.
This time I’m not.
I know that He didn’t put me through these last two years of rainy seasons for nothing. I know that His plans are greater than mine. I know that His storms brought me back to His shore, and His path that lay ahead.
Can I say I’m ready? No. Nobody is ever ready for any of the “curve balls” of life. I am never completely “ready” for the unknown. But, being more aware of my trials, and recognizing that each trial birthed a new fragment of myself.
I realize that it’s not these past two years that has shaped me… it has been my ENTIRE life. Memories from years ago, resurfacing to be exposed and used for the good. For empathy, for sympathy. For healing. Sometimes, when things resurface, you can finally see them, and answer the question why.
I’m staring to see all the “whys” of my life. I’m finally seeing the answers float to the surface like life savers in the sea.
As a child, I was the caregiver for my mother as she struggled with addiction, one day, a social worker followed me home from school . She was assigned to do a welfare check.
I remember the fear, unlocking the door, her pulling up in the driveway just behind me, instructing me to get my mother.
My mother was sleeping. This was the norm during this period. On days she picked me up from school, it was well after the teachers and faculty had left. Some days I walked home because I knew it would be faster to walk than to wait.
“Mama,” I said. “You need to wake up. A lady is here. I’m scared she’s gonna take me.”
My other staggered up, put on a robe, and put the dogs in the back.
“I have the flu.” she said.
The social worker sat down, asking questions about my dad, abuse and why I had missed 46 days of school the year before. Then she took me aside, and asked me if my dad or anyone ever touched me.
“No.” I said. “I’m happy here”
And, she picked up her clipboard and left.
As bad as things were at my home, it wasn’t bad enough to remove me. Today, it would have been different, I’m sure. I would have been removed long before that day.
The thing is, it’s happening still. There are kids out there with less than perfect lives, and they are not safe and it’s not healthy for them to stay. But, no matter how bad it is, they still don’t want to go.
They don’t know it can be better.
They don’t know that their moms and dads can get better.
They don’t know hope.
And, the people come, and the storm arises. Children are removed and placed in systems across the country. Sometimes, they are placed in a family home- the closest thing to a “normal” family is best. Other times, there are no families that are licensed, there are no rooms. Then, it’s an institutionalized group “home”.
I was placed in a group treatment center as a teenager. A chronic runaway, “something had to be done with me”, the authorities told my parents. I was 13. My mom had just completed treatment and was now attempting to restrict me, while my life I had grown accustomed to caring for her. The roles were reversed and I could not cope. I was angry, resentful and bitter. Toss in some hormones and boys and I was a toxic stew of teenage angst. I was placed in a long term teen treatment center.
My first hour there, a female nurse had to do a full cavity search. Apparently, kids here liked to smuggle drugs in various parts of their bodies. I didn’t do drugs. I was just mad.
I hadn’t eaten, I was thirsty… outside my room I had seen a fridge that kids were getting milk cartons and juice cups from. I finally got so thirsty I quietly made my way to the fridge to get a juice.
“What are you doing?” A nurse sternly questioned me.
“I… I’m thirsty.” I stammered.
“It’s not snack time.” It’s lock down and you are not to leave your room. You have a pitcher of water in there.
But, I didn’t. And I was too scared to ask for one. The next day, I learned the strict routine of meals, snacks, school and group after group…
I had never had routine. I had never had “regular” meals. There, I awoke to a feast of bagels, jams, cream cheese, cereal and plenty of juice. And there were the daytime nurses. They were nice, caring- different from the nighttime ones. The new day, brought forth order, security… and food. I loved looking at the color coordinated white board, and seeing the perks of working up levels. You could work up a level and eat at the cafeteria. Where, the kids said: “the food was rad.” You could work up to a level and go outside. There was a playground and a pool. You could even work up a level and get a three hour pass with a parent and go off the compound. “I could run away and see Darby” I thought. (Darby was my boyfriend, and clearly I needed some therapy if this was my mindset) Over several months, I worked through the program and levels, the structure and order… and, finally I got to go home ready to adjust to my now “normal” life.
This period in my life, although moments of it still haunt me in dreams… the hard cold plastic beds, the crazy roommates, and the nighttime nurses.
But, it taught me. It taught me structure, order, and most of all coping skills I didn’t know I needed. Sometimes, the parts of life you detest at the time, actually grow you the most. Although it may take decades…. the waiting for the pieces to fit.
They will all fit together one day.
breakfast with dad
For the past four years, I had a weekly breakfast with my dad. This may not seem like a big thing to most people. I’m sure lots of people share meals with a parent or two, but… for me it was different.
You see, my dad moved out when I was 8, and although he still took me to school daily for several years after that, I had built a wall around my heart I never recognized until later in life. I seldom spoke to him on those car rides, and I would duck down so my peers would not see me in the 1965 Volkswagen Bug he would escort me in. My dad was 43 when I was born, and the cruelty of kids in elementary school only added to the youthful angst of my less than perfect family. “Is that your grandpa? His car is run by a lawnmower!”, they would taunt me daily. He was 63, about to retire and driving my ungrateful shell of a human every day to school. He was living in a small one bedroom apartment, and working to provide for not only himself, but both my mother, my sister and myself. He never divorced my mom, and eventually accepted the fact that they would eternally “go steady”.
Time goes on.
I grew up, and he grew old.
As I matured, I realized that more often than not, it was my dad that always saved the day.
He taught me to drive stick shift.
He jumped my car on more than one occasion.
He came to rescue me after my first car accident.
He took me to the mall when I got a 3 hour pass from “the center”. ( I was placed in a rehabilitation home for kids when I was 13. I was a chronic runaway and the authorities said it was that or Juvenile detention)
He helped me get my first car loan.
He and I built a turtle cage together.
He would take me thrift shopping when I wanted furniture to paint for my room.
He watched my dogs when I went on vacation.
After my mom was diagnosed with cancer, she began a less than active lifestyle, and their days of going to lunch and the movies ceased. He would golf in the morning and wait. Wait for her to awaken, wait to see what the afternoon would bring.
So, one day, I asked if he’d like to do breakfast after I dropped my daughter off at school. I assumed he’d say no, he would golf every morning and he was 80, after all and he was pretty much set in his ways. But, he said yes.
After a few months, I began to badger him to let me tidy up his apartment. It had not been cleaned in years… he said no, then, finally he said yes.
So, our breakfasts became that. A hearty meal and a way for me to thank him for all those years I was so ungrateful. He would call me every evening, and tell me how nice things looked, and how good it smelled. One Christmas, my daughter and I “broke in” and laid new door mats and bath towels out. I set up his Christmas trees, and changed batteries in smoke alarms, and set clocks after time changes….
Six months ago, he said to me; “You know, Michelle, the apartment was only supposed to be for 6 months. I would have never gotten it if I knew it was going to be longer.”
He got older.
He stopped golfing…
He seemed tired.
One week we had a breakfast planned, but I had to change it to a few days later. He called me for help walking his dog the next morning. He said he took and Advil and felt like it was stuck in his throat. I came over and walked his dog, warmed his coffee, and noticed his feet looked swollen. He said they were fine. I asked if he wanted me to call the medics, he said “No. Absolutely not.”
Hindsight: Sometimes, it’s okay to disobey your parents.
Later that afternoon, I told my mom I was worried about him. she said she spoke with him and he was fine.
The next day, she called me. She hadn’t heard form him in 24 hours, and wanted me to go check on him. I have to admit. I was scared. I had my daughter with me, what if… something happened? But, after a persuasion from my husband, we left. My heart boomed in my chest, making my coffee and cereal swirl up from my stomach to my throat.
We arrived, finding him naked, face down into the carpet, mumbling about teenagers and falling.
I called the medics.
They came, and I did my best to answer questions.
“How old is he?”
“He lives alone?”
Then, silence. I looked at him, only to receive a glare and a head shake that said “How can you let him live alone? What kind of daughter are you?”
They took him away. That was the last time he saw his home, his bird and his dog.
At the hospital he was confused, but the doctors and had no definitive diagnosis, CAT and PET scans clear, no stroke, no heart attack. They summed up to congestive heart failure and kidneys were off. He had an esophageal diverticulum that prevented them from offering him any food by mouth, due to the possibility of silent aspiration. He was unable to swallow properly, or feed himself, so a feeding tube was placed in his abdomen.
He was in the hospital nine days. He could no longer walk or eat.
He was placed into rehab, to regain his mobility and strength. I wrote about our daily visits here: (rehab visits)
When they allowed food once more, I was able to see him eat grilled cheese, spaghetti, eclairs, and soup. I brought him grits, mashed potatoes, egg salad and breakfast from our restaurant. But, he still wasn’t eating enough to sustain him, so the tube remained. He was gaining his strength, but not to the point where he felt he should be. He was discouraged and disappointed that he wasn’t getting better. He’d complain that people would say “You’re doing better!” But, he could not see the progress he wanted to.
He began to get depressed.
His slight dementia began to increase, and he would pick fights with my mom, accusing her of pole dancing and doing drugs. He was terrified of being alone at night and would beg me to spend the night at the nursing home.
He developed pneumonia from the silent aspiration and was back in the hospital 8 days. He got better, but once again no more food was allowed. Nothing by mouth, they’d say.
As they began to offer him food once more, he was not as happy as he was previously. He didn’t want the ice cream, grits, potatoes or soups both me and my mom would bring. He was constantly scared he’s “over do it”. To him, two bites was too many.
He had developed a UTI, and we were waiting for the antibiotics to start. He had one previously and it made him confused, and agitated. We were hoping that may be the reason for his recent mood swing….
My daughter urged us to go visit him one Monday. I was trying to see him every other day instead of every day like I had been, but my daughter said, “No. Let’s go see him today.”
We went outside, and I said to him, “What can I do to help encourage you? You seem so sad.”
He asked for a Coke.
He got a Coke and drank it, he said it was real good and he was looking forward to the masters coming on in a couple weeks.
Two hours later, I got a phone call that his lab work came back off and they were putting him in the hospital for “observation”. We went to see him, and I asked how he was feeling, he said “I feel fine, I’m just tired. Where’s that Coke you gave me? Can you go get it?”
The nurse said he had fluid in his bladder and had to give him a catheter. We left and said we’d see him the following day.
That afternoon, my mom called from the hospital. He was screaming in pain from the catheter, and hesitantly, hospital staff removed it. That night, he had somehow fallen from his bed, and was rushed to ICU with low blood pressure. We went to see him in the morning, and his hands were wrapped in what looked like white boxing gloves, he was moaning and incoherent. He had unknown fluid accumulating in his abdomen, and they needed to do surgery to see what was going on.
He made it through the surgery but his system was failing. The meds to keep his blood pressure up were putting a strain on his heart, and the excess fluid building up was not leaving his body fast enough. He stopped producing urine and he was not a candidate for dialysis I was told.
I was called in the middle of the night, a doctor asked me if his heart were to stop, would I want chest compression. Chest compression that would break his ribs…
I consulted my mom. She said yes.
My heart sank, thinking of not only my dad, but the medic, crushing an old man’s chest…
Fortunately, it never came to that.
The hospital called me in, one early Sunday morning. Three doctors approached me. One lined it up:
“Normally I am very graceful in these situations. Today, however, I’m going to be honest and blunt. He’s not getting better. He’s terminal. Why are you putting him through this?”
Again, my mind flashed to the medic. Shame on you, you bad daughter.
I stammered, tears welling up in my eyes, I lost it. I knew he had a living will, I knew the feeding tube went against it, I knew my mom was holding onto every ounce of hope and my sister as well. I also knew that I could no longer keep hope alive.
Hospice was called, and papers needed to be signed by my mother.
She wasn’t ready.
So he stayed in a comatose state, kidneys failing…
Finally, she agreed.
A day later, the overnight hospice nurse called me, she said based on his stats he probally would pass quickly. She called and said the breathing tuble was removed. He was breathing on his own, sleeping… snoring.
She called 45 minuted later.
Blood pressure is low, breathing is stable.
An hour later.
She’s off her shift, to call again in a couple hours.
I managed and hour and a half sleep, the next day he was transitioned into a hospice room, still snoring…. I had my daughter with me, I was hesitant to go see him. I was torn, my mom didn’t want to and my sisters were both out of town.
I asked my daughter how she felt about it. She said she wanted to say goodbye. So we rushed to the hospital, ran up six flights of stairs and found him. Peaceful, snoring, on his side. Like a baby in an old man’s body.
I got my mom on speakerphone.
She assured him everything was okay, his eyes opened and his snoring stopped. She hung up. I told him, “People are waiting, Jesus is waiting. It’s time to go home, and everything will be okay.” He closed his eyes and began to snore again. My daughter began to get distraught….
The Masters was about to start in an hour and forty minutes, I made sure it was on his TV.
I said, “I love you” gave him a hug and we walked away.
A hour and forty two minutes later, I call a phone call.
My dad had passed.
Each day we are given choices, simple choices. You can chose to live for yourself or you can chose to give of yourself.
My dad’s life taught me to give of yourself, because in the end; it’s not what you did for yourself that matters.
It’s what you did for others.
Never take a day for granted.
Make each one count. Even the bad ones.
They are the only days we get.
RIP JAMES BEST JACKSON 1931-2016
until now…Disney People
Until now I never understood “Disney People”, (as my husband and I called it) You see, we had a very bad experience at Disney once. You can read about that here. I’m pretty sure we were some of the only people in the world to have free passes and not use them for years. Add in that we live 2.5 hours away and that, some may say is insane.
Until we finally made a trip there, a trip that was just for fun, no meetings or work involved for either of us. No in-laws, no extended family, no time issues…. no stress.
Just us, our time, and our plans.
And, you know what? It was fun.
Fun, despite the learning curve of limited fast passes and smartphone apps.
Fun, despite getting cut in line by rude American tourists.
Maybe it was that “Disney Magic” people often speak about… but, it’s official, we are Disney People now. Disney People, (you know who you are); chances are:
- you have a magnet on your car
- you have “a character” that represents yourself
- you most likely own attire that’s specifically worn on trips to the parks
- there are specific foods you know you can only obtain in certain places
As for the customized matching T shirts? No, we aren’t there yet… although we joked my hubby’s would have to involve a bearded Mickey of some sort. 🙂
So, how do we become “Disney People” on a budget that’s tighter than a banjo string?
We’re figuring that out as we go… so far:
I’ve found it’s much easier to bring the furbabies along. There are tons of pet friendly places to stay within five minutes of Walt Disney World. Utilizing third parties sites helps ensure the best rates. Note: We have also used Best Friends Pet Care boarding and daycare on Disney property. (Highly recommended and very reasonable) Unless you’re pass holders, plan to fork out $20 for parking if you aren’t staying on property.
However, if you are able to, staying on property is amazing: I have had the opportunity to stay four times (The Dolphin, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Yacht Club) that’s another story, though. (Parking is free, in addition fast transportation to and from parks)
The parks allow you to bring in food and drinks, but plan on going through heavy security screening. Cops, dogs, scanners, you name it. (Let’s not complain, they are keeping us safe)
For our park lunch, we opt for Publix veggie subs. (Best. Sub. Ever.)
Bringing in food is okay, selfie sticks are not. They will take them from you.
You’ve been warned.
Bring hand sanitizer. There’s germs everywhere. I’m a germaphob. I santize after every ride. Not that it’s dirty there, it’s actually super clean. I’m a germaphob. That’s me.
Once you get your park ticket, choose your fast passes with the Disney World smart phone app. Do this as far ahead of time as possible.
Get your fast passes early, use them and head to a kiosk to pick more. Don’t be surprised if there are no more ride fast passes available by the time you finish your original three. That happened to us. So, instead we got to meet characters. 🙂 win=win
DO NOT delete/clear your fast passes from your phone if you miss the time or change your mind. Go to a kiosk. We messed up our first three and lost them.
If you don’t have a smart phone… get to a kiosk to sync your tickets with fast passes.
What’s the big deal about fast passes? It’s a difference of a five minute line wait to a 45-70 minute line wait. Time is priceless when you want to get a Dole Whip before it will ruin your appetite.
So, that wraps up my tidbits on becoming a Disney Family. I know I have only scratched the surface. We’re still figuring out dinner and breakfast… although our last hotel had a fabulous breakfast spread- sometimes those are a gamble. Eating at the parks is always an option but we have to be careful of dietary restrictions. Food is big for me. I refuse to settle for chicken fingers and fries. I’m not five.
That’s why I am so glad there’s Epcot. Mmmmm, Epcot.
But, that’s another story, too.
when the knife lands in your back
There are vests to protect vital organs from bullets.
Unfortunately, there is nothing to protect you from words. Words, despite their invisible state, can cut through, and permeate where nothing else can.
Words can be not only damaging, but also virus-like, spreading throughout your thoughts, and impacting your mood and, eventually- your health.
Words, echoing over and over, fueling themselves, manifesting, invading. Attacking. Spreading.
There is no vaccine to protect you from the virus like words some people choose to spread.
There is no disinfectant for words, no antidote, no antibiotic. Once they are spoken, once they are heard, they are there. You’re infected.
What words are infecting you today?
Lies? Gossip? Rumors?
They may not be infecting you, but are they affecting you?
It’s hard when the knife land in your back. It’s not like a splinter on your finger that’s accessible and removable. It’s unreachable.
When your back has a scratch that’s unreachable, you find someone that will scratch it.
When your back has a knife in it, who will pull it out?
4 concepts to live with
Some people choose a word to live by for the New Year, a word to help channel them pass the chaos, and fuel them for each day. I still haven’t chosen a word, instead I have chosen concepts. Concepts to remember, apply and take with me into each day.
There are periods in life where these concepts seem so far out of reach, you may as well be grasping at the air. We live in a society that can barely keep up with itself. Updating software, updating browsers, updating statuses pelt into our moments like raindrops on a tin roof. The noise of technology, and the hum of social media can be thieves in the stillness.
It’s easy to lose balance, especially if it’s time you’re trying to balance. It seems today everybody is over scheduled, and just plain too busy to squeeze much more into their days. And, what is the “more” we are trying to squeeze? A home cooked meal? Time to mend a fence? Time to make a phone call? Time to tackle the laundry? Time to share with loved ones? Identify your time thieves* and arrest them. ( *see time thieves)
Where is the peace? I’m not talking about the technicolor tie dyed fantasy of world peace. I’m talking about the peace that comes from within. The peace that comes when you really cast your worries onto Him, for He cares for you. (1Peter5:7) I have to admit, I do my best to cast my worries, but sometimes I still worry. Especially when I’m working out the household budget. Some concepts are easier said than done. But, when you remember the big picture of eternity, today’s tiny budget holds no impact on who I am, or His plan.
Chances are, you’re at a computer or smart phone. You know where your next meal is coming from, you have access to clean water, and indoor plumbing. Maybe you wish you had something more, maybe you don’t know how long before you’ll get paid again, or what those test results will be, but for now: It’s okay, you’re okay, and He will handle what’s next.
You will get through this.
There is a solution to every problem.
Every moment that holds a problem will pass, and the solution will be revealed in the future.
Be grateful that the future exists.
I’m happy where I am, because I know where I’m at.~ MK
Even in the darkest of days, I have held on to that motto. Because I know where I have been, I know the darkest of nights in the midst of summer. And, even those nights ended. The sun will rise again. Everyday I find joy in today.
I find joy in today because the pain of yesterday.
Contentment goes far beyond a need or desire- contentment is a state of finding the balance, peace, and gratefulness in the life you were given. Despite the messiness and mess ups that happen, you matter. You have a purpose, a plan, and a reason to be here. One day, the stories of your trials and triumphs will bring hope to someone. Embrace the hardships as birthing pains to a new vision in your life.
Don’t get distracted by the moment today to lose your path to tomorrow.
I had a random lunch date with a friend I hadn’t seen in over a year. It started as coffee, then we got to talking about food, Indian food to be exact- and that turned into an impromptu lunch and some really good stories shared. It could have easily gotten blown off, there were things to do.. dishes, laundry, my dog needs a bath so bad that I’m pretty sure the neighbors can smell her, and of course there is dinner to be planned. But, on this particular day, I said no to whatever was left undone and left it there.
There is always things to do.
There is not always friends to have lunch with.
I’ve come to realize that all the “things” will never be done, and to put off life until things are done is like waiting for the wind to hold still.
And, the funny thing about this particular day was that, in fact… I got a lot done.
I had wanted to spend time with her, and in the hour or so in between coffee and lunch I managed to get the hygienic chores complete: clean dishes, and clean laundry.
Stinky dogs can come another day, so can organizing the paperwork, and de cluttering the kids’ closets can be delegated into other days that lie ahead.
Don’t let your life be too busy to make memories.
Take time to identify the “moment thieves” in your daily routine; is it social media? Is it having to run to the grocery store daily because you have no idea what to make for dinner? Is it the endless pile of laundry/paperwork/dishes/clutter?
Now: Take a moment and think about a random week in life, what do you remember most about it? Chances are, the moments that stand out are not the trips to the store, the laundry or the chores.
It’s the moments you shares with family and friends, or time spent alone with God.
Those moments are what make life matter.
Remember those moment thieves?
Take back your time, your memories and your life. Make this year count.
If social media is your time thief, set aside ____ number of minutes to scroll, and put it down.
If it’s those random store trips, set up a monthly calendar menu plan (ie; meatloaf Monday, Taco Tuesday) Next, make a detailed shopping list and stick to it. Chances are, you’ll save more than time, you will save money, too. If you can’t think of menus, there are tons of blogs/sites online that have example plans.
And, finally… the laundry, the paperwork, the clutter. The main reason these areas get overwhelming is lack of maintenance. Unfortunately, these chores will always be there. But, with maintenance, they can be managed into moments of your day instead of hours.
This is where you make have to spend a full day getting caught up. Not fun, but necessary. Once you are caught up, maintain. Break up the laundry into specific days: whites on Wednesday, colors on Monday and Friday. If you have competent family members, delegate days for each member.
And, finally… the chores: Vacuuming, dusting, mopping…the dreaded bathroom.
I have three dogs, three chickens, a cockatoo, and amazon parrot, parakeets, fish, turtles and tortoises, and a bearded dragon, a kid and a husband. Of course, the reptiles and chickens are outside, so…
I vacuum daily.
I like vacuuming.
I steam mop twice a week, and wet mop bleach once a week. (Every other day I mop) I live in a smaller home, so keeping it sanitary is easy. It takes under an hour to both vacuum and mop. I suggest you time how long it takes you to do each chore, once you realize that aforementioned chore takes just _____ minutes to do, you will be able to incorporate it into your day much easier.
We tend to procrastinate on chores that appear time consuming, but in actuality, they aren’t that time consuming.
So, arrest those time thieves, take back your moments to make memories and live intentionally.
Summertime calls for treats like Buttercrunch doughnuts and trips to the beach.
It also calls for me to forget the things I should be doing…
unintentional time outs.
I should be blogging more, writing more, submitting queries and illustrations, editing photos, working on my publication calendar and of course doing the weekly chores.
But, lately… I have come to realize that this is the only summer I get when my daughter is 6.
This is the only chance I have to fill her head up with happy childhood memories….classic simmer memories..
So, forgive me please for my absence.
I’m working on putting a happy person into the world for the future.
Today is the day to drop the devices and live.
summer week one ’14
Every year I attempt to document Summer here, a few years ago it was a daily post, and last Summer it was a round up with an epic fail in between. This year, I am hoping to do a weekly summer activity post, depending on how much I want to stare at a computer screen.
Sometimes I do. Between Pinterest and browsing all the books at the library, I can be quite content for an hour.
Then the sun comes up and it’s time to start the day.
I’m exhausted by the end of the day… but- it’s kind of that” happy theme park exhausted”, because this year I decided to make summer different. I want my kid to have happy summer memories, not memories of mommy working behind the computer all day, not mommy texting or checking email on the phone.
So, I leave my computer and phone alone majority of the day. Except for photos, of course…
Gotta have those.
So far: summer in photos:
THE LAST DAY. (Until Fall, at least….)
Homemade mango Ice cream with strawberry chunks…
a nature walk with the dogs… and the dogs got tired.
A little trip to the water park… and some tasty little snacks (that I only allow myself to eat in the summer)
A fishing tournament, and a new friend to hunt crabs with…
blessed with fabulous weather and scenery, and a rockin’ cooler for a prize for winning the tournament division:
and tasting some pretty weird things… (they were only $1, and more minty than dilly)
Surprising Dad with a few Father’s Day gifts
coloring pages at the library…
and Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas….
This has been Summer.
So far. 🙂