Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hold On Tight

I don't want to write this. I don't want anyone to read this but I have to write this and perhaps someone needs to read it. I'm not even sure exactly how this is going to end up written but I think I am about to be more vulnerable than I am comfortable with. Shall we see far out of my comfort zone I do get with this?

I have always dreamed of being able to get close to a tiger cub, if you don't know tigers are my favorite animal, and I always thought it would be cool to hold a tiger but never thought I would get to. I, however, recently got to mark that off my bucket list and it was everything I dreamed it would be. This post isn't about whether you agree or disagree with facilities like this - you are entitled to however you believe on that (I will say all of the animals were very well taken care of and in a facility that was well maintained,  probably the best I have ever seen.). I will say that I think it is a very educational thing and positive thing to have. That's all of my opinion I will give. Now on to what I really want to say. I am one to get very random thoughts in situations and things I see. This experience was no different. Remember these two things cause I'm going to hit on them throughout this. The first was when the tiger cubs were in the room and someone stood up in the middle of the room they told the person you can stand but you have to stand against the wall. The second is at the end you could get your picture taken with any of the animals you saw. I got a picture taken with a Bengal tiger when she handed the tiger cub to me she said you have to hold him, you have to hold on to him tight. Got those two - standing with your back against the wall and hold on tight. Remember those cause I am about to have a squirrel moment and we're going to another thing.

We all have stories and in those stories we have things and sometimes even people that we can't be around less it triggers fears and doubts and causes us to retreat back behind the walls that we have tried so hard to tear down. Y'all have no idea how much I don't want to write this. I don't like for people to know I am struggling cause I feel like people will think I am trying to get attention or at the very least it seems to draw attention to me and I don't like that. But I have to write this. So this past week has been full blown trigger week. I'm not going into detail on a lot of it but the first one started last week and that one doesn't matter but it started the fears of people leaving or not being there, with this person I have never met them, they are kin to me but we never got the chance to meet or talk until recently and we've kind of gotten the chance to text back and forth. So that was trigger one of the week and starts the fears. Now I'm not anti social networks by no means that is the only way I have to contact several people. Trigger number two was seeing some things on Facebook - from pages that I follow just so no one thinks it was a friend. Those memes and articles that triggered the lies and fears of I am unworthy, I bother people, no one loves me they just tolerate me, etc. I'm about to have another trigger just writing this! Then there was some old lies and fears that was climbing out and showing their faces. Now this next one isn't against anyone and I know what was said wasn't even thought or meant to be a trigger to those fears and lies. Which also has got me thinking and wondering how many times I have said or done something and unintentionally and potentially never realizing that I caused  a trigger to someone and hurt them. Can I say right now I am most sincerely sorry if I ever have, I would never ever intentionally cause any kind of hurt or harm to anyone. You know sometimes we say stuff and sometimes we say stuff to try to help and it has the opposite effect. But someone said something and again they didn't mean anything by it was never their intention for it to cause the trigger that it did and I hope they never find out or know cause it doesn't need to be known. But that triggered the fears and lies and added to what was already building of people leaving, things changing (which is life and I know change isn't always bad, if/when it does happen) and I caught myself building the wall back up. See I know I keep people at a distance and have hopefully gotten better at that but when the fears and lies attack like they have been I don't know how to handle it and the only thing that has ever made sense and 'helped' (cause it really doesn't help and I know it doesn't) is to build the wall up. You know you think walls protect you from the elements, shield you from the rain and wind and heat of the day but the walls I build up to keep people out they don't protect me, they actually in turn cause more damage. I am a quiet person in that when I talk the volume of my voice isn't very loud but I also am a very private person and am probably really difficult to get to know. I prefer listening and learning about others, I feel I am not that important or have much to offer. I also just don't talk that much - except for a couple or so people that I seem to talk to a lot even though one said that they have to work and pull things out of me (it's true, if I am in the moments like I am now, you have to have serious patience for me to be able to talk and I will ultimately just say it's nothing I'm good) and to those two people I promise I am trying not to talk to you all as much and tell you so much....but can I also say that as I write that I am reminded of a couple of things. You know a predator will isolate it's prey (generally in the animal kingdom it goes for the weakest most vulnerable too but I want to say if you are being attacked or going through something I think it's the opposite it's because you very much matter and you have so much to offer that these attacks try to isolate you to keep you from seeing that you are a warrior and a game changer). And I think that is one of the most powerful ways for a person to be attacked - to isolate them and to make them feel alone - which you can feel even when you are in a room full of people. If we feel alone and isolated it's like it causes an avalanche, suddenly we feel vulnerable we feel unworthy, unloved, that we don't matter, etc. One of my favorite stories and people from the bible is Joseph and in the past couple of years his story has and continues to encourage and help me. And I was thinking today how he went from the pit to the palace to prison and probably spent several of those years wondering if he would be remembered and brought out of the prison but he was and he was brought back to the palace and was someone of great importance and helped many. In the times he was in prison for something he didn't even do it became a time that he was actually planted and grew and it even prepared him for when he got back to the palace. But as I was writing that about not talking so much I was also reminded of how people are placed in our lives to steal the phrase I have wrote on here before and was told to me God knits people into our lives and those are our home team, that is there to help us any time of day or night, to encourage us, to laugh with us and to help us out of the pit back into the palace, to help us and to just make this ride a little bit more fun and tolerable. Those people that can help keep the predator away and keep you from feeling or being isolated and alone. And if I'm honest one of my biggest struggles is feeling alone and in turn I start to isolate myself - no for the record my personality and just who I am is one that I could disappear for a long time and just not really talk or whatever, that's just who I am, it's not that no one has done anything I don't even think I realize I am doing it. But back to those people - the ones that whatever chapter they show up in they are meant to be there for the remaining chapters. So I guess I'm saying I know I'm weird and difficult to probably put up with to even get to know  - it's not done on purpose to test or anything I probably don't even realize I am doing it, I am very bad about living in my own little world and I quite often get lost in there.

Now to get back to those two random thoughts I had while visiting with the tiger cubs. When we was in the room telling the person to stand against the wall was a safety measure but in life sometimes things comes against us and pushes us against the wall. All those things that have piled up and dug up some fears and lies and added some new ones have me against the wall and it makes you feel trapped and hopeless. I have this shirt, I call it my preaching shirt because I have got comments on it in Indiana, Arizona and Kentucky all of them saying they love the message on the shirt. What does the shirt say? Glad you asked. It says Hope is the Message We are the Messengers. That shirt reminds me that we all have days that we lose hope, we misplace it and thank God for those people that whether they know it or not are messengers to help us find that hope again, maybe to find the faith we lost or find it for the first time. Things are going to happen and sometimes those things will push you up against the wall - or in my case sitting in a fetal position with the walls starting to build back up. Now I know I will get through this and those walls aren't staying up, I've worked to hard and went through to much to build them back up. The second thing, when the woman handed me the tiger to hold while the other woman (who made the comment on my shirt) took my picture she said you've got to hold him, you've got to hold on to him tight. Okay, no problem, I'm holding a tiger cub - I want to hug him and name him George lol (I hate having my picture taken but that day I didn't care and I had the biggest cheesiest grin on my face. I was so stinking happy). At one point when I was holding him the tiger roared, which was cute, scary and intimidating all at once. When she said you got to hold him tight it reminded of how sometimes when we're having a bad day we have to hold on tight to those truths and even hold on to those people that are there for us - and I do hope anyone that reads this you have at least one person like that (it ain't about having a lot of people like that just having the true sincere people that got your back). I had to hold tight to the tiger so he didn't get down and start exploring and when I'm against the wall, in a storm, just having a rough day I have to hold on to the truth that this will pass, I will make it, I am an overcomer. I will grow from this, it might hurt and it might not be fun, might last longer than I want it to but I will grow and I will make it. The other thing that kind of just came to mind was when the tiger roared. Sometimes when we're in a battle our battle cry might sound like that little tiger and you think aww and it doesn't really intimidate or scare your enemy but don't let you that make you stop you roar because what the enemy doesn't want you to know is that the first roar did scare him but he's trying to make you think you ain't going to win that your roar isn't causing any damage trying to make you stop to get you hide behind the walls. Roar, I don't care how quiet you are or how loud you are, roar and you keep roaring. You keep taking those steps, you keep telling yourself those truths that you matter that you will make this that you are unfinished but you are still here and you are gonna fly cause you have something to offer this world. It doesn't matter how shaky your voice is, doesn't matter how bad your knees are knocking you got this and I so very much believe in you. Don't kick yourself while your down cause you are struggling or are having a bad day, that's okay, we all do, just don't unpack there and stay cause you don't deserve that.

I think I will end this with a couple of lines from a song I heard today called I'll Find You by Lecrae and in it it states: But tell God I'mma need a whole lotta hope keeping it together. I'm smilin' in everyone's face I'm cryin' whenever they leave the room...No don't let the fear make you feel like you can't fight this on your own
You know I, I'll be there for you no matter where you go. You'll never be alone, no. Just fight a little longer my friend it's all worth it in the end

So as I am in this prison or pit I will keep fighting and appreciate those that stick around and are there for me during these times because I'm not staying in this prison I'm going to the palace. And I will grow and I will fly. A bad day might knock me down and keep me out for longer than I want it to but it ain't knocking me out, I will get back. I might have a scar or two but those just prove that I am a survivor. So I will hold on tight and know that I am going to make it.



Monday, October 2, 2017

I'm Not Who I Was

This post is brought to you by the song I'm Not Who I Was by Brandon Heath (probably some more songs before I finish writing but mainly this one). I know and apologize to those that personally know me because I don't make it easy to know me or to know things about me. Music is a way for me to use to help people know a little more about me in an odd way. The song I'm Not Who I Was has meant a lot to me from the very first time I heard it and can I just tell you I have come a long way from that moment so now it means even more to me. I believe it was early last year I got to go to a concert and see Third Day with Brandon Heath. Brandon sang this song and he gave the story behind it (I may have written about this before but in case I haven't or just as a refresher I'll tell it - possibly telling it again). So the story was that his parents divorced and his dad remarried and later on his stepmom left too and at some point in his life he wrote this song about that moment in his life. So this song holds a lot of meaning to me, I can listen to it and think of how I can relate in feeling that way towards someone and I'm not who I was in that situation anymore - thank God. I'm also just not who I was in general and again thank God. Do you ever feel like you are playing a game of dodge ball with life and sometimes life hits you good with a scenario that knocks you. Life's rules of dodge ball are a bit different in that you are still in the game when you get hit but life doesn't always play fair and keeps throwing the balls if you will to try to persuade you to not try to get back up. I'm not who I was in that I have also figured out that I can fight back and though I may be pretty much mostly known as that quiet girl I have more to contribute to my little bitty part in my little bitty section of this world and the stories I am in and my own narrative.

There is a line from that song that states: 'When the pain came back again like a bitter friend it was all that I could do to keep myself from blaming you...Now I'm not who I was I write about love and such. Maybe 'cause I want it so much. I'm not who I was. I was thinking maybe I -I should let you know that I am not the same.' Forgive me cause I'm going to be jumping all over the place and probably not making much sense. But can I tell you something that I seem to really be understanding and getting and I don't know why it's suddenly happening but I have spent most of my life (from the time I was six until now at the good ol' age of 33) thinking I was damaged and that these scars well I've been trying to hide my scars - these scars have made me who I am these scars don't make me damaged they just add a bit more to my story. There is a song by Casting Crowns called Loving My Jesus and there is lines from that song that states: Showing my scars Telling my story of how mercy can reach you where you are. And I pray the whole world hears the cry of my heart is to see all the ones I love loving my Jesus. Sin tries to make you hide whispers that same old lie keep all your pain inside 'cause no one will understand...' See I think we often all at some point for some amount of time put on a mask - and that falls for people of all races, gender, age, religion, etc. I recently had a conversation with someone and knowingly or not they hit the bulls eye on some of the things I have been struggling with again and they helped me be able to take the mask off and to help remind me of the truth because the fears and lies were sneaking back in. Sometimes it's not always the bitterness that tries to sneak back in - maybe your situation doesn't even really involve a bitterness of any kind but sometimes those fears and lies come back. And I can honestly say there is no bitterness on my part for anything but I will also honestly say that some of the fears and lies that have plagued me try to weasel their way back in sometimes. Well I'll just tell you how it has been here lately and first I will say I have no idea what has happened but I have made huge steps and the past three or so weeks it's as if some blinders have been taken off and I am seeing for the first time. You know what it is kind of like before I started sixth grade I had to get glasses and I knew that things were blurry and I wasn't seeing things like they were meant to be seen but I didn't realize how much I was missing until I put those glasses on and suddenly so much was so very clear. I was going around reading signs from a distance I probably wouldn't have even seen there was something written on it before. I kind of feel like that now, that I am seeing stuff that I was meant to see and understand for so long and I am just now finally getting it and able to read it.... to accept it. In part of the conversation I brought up a couple of people and what they mean to me and in particular I had stated how I call one of them mom and though I didn't say this part I often struggle with if that was/is okay and some other stuff I'll get to in a moment but when I said that I called them mom the person said something that really helped and that was that it was okay because God knows the people that we need in our lives and they shared some of their story. But it helped so much to be reminded how no matter how old we may be or the situation that it is okay and that we will have those people that are like a parent or a sibling or whatever that we need. In part of the conversation I had said how I struggled with accepting that this person could and would see me as their daughter and actually I struggle with even accepting love and that I deserve to have those kinds of people in my life and the person said yeah because you feel damaged and that is true. I've been going about seeing my scars in the wrong way. See I thought, still sometimes struggle with, thinking that those scars make me damaged goods. Have you ever been to the store and saw something be it food or recently I bought a USB cord for I think $5 cheaper because the box was damaged but there was nothing wrong with the USB cord. Or maybe if you buy that box of food for a little cheaper there was nothing wrong with the food just the box was a little damaged but it still served its purpose. Sometimes people are like those boxes. See what we see on the outside may look damaged and more often than not what is damaged is on the inside but we hide it with masks and if you are like me keeping people at a distance and such. That damage, those scars that for whatever reason we can fall in the trap of thinking that it makes us unworthy or undeserving or unable well that is all lies. Those scars are just part of your story. They don't define who you are, they just add to it, you know many of our scars we think ruin our story, they make us less than but that is so wrong. I still am not the best at letting people see my scars  - telling what I have told in the past few posts on here is huge for me - but I am trying to look at it like this and that my scars are proof that I am way stronger than I ever gave myself credit for and it proves to me that God has my back and all this time has watched out for me. Though I may be or have been damaged I am still worthy and so are you. I don't know if anyone will read this and if you are I may have talked to you and know your story or maybe we have never met but I can say this no matter what your scars may be from and how damaged you may think you are and you'll never be perfect - well we won't be perfect so I don't know about you but big sigh of relief I can quit trying to live up to that standard but your scars make you beautiful and remind you and can help others know they can make it through their own storms that have caused scars perhaps similar to yours. You know when that person was talking to me yesterday I am not sure I knew one part of her story that she shared with me and it helped to hear someone say they struggled with feeling a certain way because of this situation. Never belittle yourself, period but never think your story doesn't matter or is to damaged or whatever to make a difference. Even if you have went through something I have never had to deal with just hearing your story will still make an impact and help. Because who knows maybe even on down the road I will go through something similar and I will think oh wait so and so went through something like this hey maybe I need to go talk to them or maybe I will remember something you said while telling me your story of what you did to help get through the storm. Wounds don't always heal over night and that's okay sometimes it can take years for wounds of things we have went through to even start to heal. Don't fall in the trap that you have to put on the mask and act like you are okay or healed from a wound because it has been x amount of time and you should be over that by now. We all heal at a different pace. You know I could get a cut on my arm and you could get the same length and depth of cut on your arm and your wound may heal over in a day with no scar or anything whereas mine may take a few days and leave a scar. But we're both healed now it just that it took my wound a little longer to heal. Are all of my wounds healed perfectly - no I mean I do still have scars but again those scars are just a reminder that I made it through, didn't make it through unscathed but I made it through. You know I think I need to point this out because I don't want it to seem like I don't have bad days or that I don't have struggles - I have just made huge steps forward. See I do still very much struggle with letting people in and not keeping them at a distance. In fact, I will tell on myself I have made huge steps in letting people in and accepting that yup God did send these people to fill in and be like such and such in my life. But you know what, just today even I had a major fear that those people would leave and that I needed to not get any closer and not let them any closer because something is going to happen and their not going to be in my life that much I won't get to see them or spend time with them and just don't get any closer. I had to remind myself of a couple of things one something they told me and then I tried to remind myself that all of that very well may be true but I need to focus on the now and I don't want to miss out on any opportunity I have now to be with them to spend time or talk with them in any capacity. Because keeping people at a distance just leaves me alone and I want to be with those that God knows I need to spend time with and that will be there for me. And you know what I think it's time for this quiet girl to fly, it's time for me to sing my song and to accept what I am deserving of.  How about you? Maybe we have to help each other remember that though we have scars it doesn't disqualify us, I'll be honest with you I think it makes us that much more qualified. You know some days it's easy to fly and some days it's not so easy to fly - I watched a bird flying the other day and the wind was catching under its wings and trying to knock it off course but the bird kept maneuvering and it kept flight and was able to get where it wanted to. It may not always be an easy flight and some days we have to find a tree branch to sit on and rest and some days we can keep flight it just takes a little longer to get to our destination. Some days or just bad days and you need that friend, that person that you can go to and talk to and they can remind you to focus on the good and don't worry be happy or just to be there. Am I where I want to be - no but thank God I'm not who I was. I daresay I think I am becoming who I am meant to be.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Whispers of Hope

I'm not a very loud person, I am fairly certain I have unintentionally annoyed several people cause I couldn't talk loud and they couldn't hear me. I promise I am not doing it on purpose, I am trying to talk where I can be heard and to me it feels like I am yelling, like I am giving it my all. Have you ever been sick with a sore throat and you're trying to talk and it's just not getting above a whisper? That is probably a good idea of what it is like trying to hear me talk! That is actually a good unintentional lead way into another thought.

Sometimes I get random thoughts (I call them that someone once told me that I think that they are random but they are really from God) and I will also get random pictures pop in my head (we won't even talk about the dreams I have sometimes that could very much fall in this little category!). Yes, I probably do need a straight jacket and padded walls too! However, if you so wish to continue reading I think I would like to write about a few of these random thoughts.

I love lighthouses I think they are a perfect representation of a beacon of hope. I am terrified of heights but even with that fear when I look at or even climb a lighthouse I always think of hope and how we are sometimes knowingly or unknowingly a light to others. Now I'm one to not stand tall, I quite often walk looking at the ground and we've established how quiet I am. By all means just those few things alone should disqualify me from being a lighthouse but that would be wrong. Being a light has been one of those random thoughts. This world can get dark, it make you feel alone and isolated very easily and those are some of the worst feelings ever. It is in those dark moments that I imagine it is how a sailor felt when he was alone on his boat at night and may have been having trouble navigating even felt alone and so lost. Maybe he was thinking to himself now what do I do and as he started looking around it was pitch black and he is going in a circle and when he about to give up almost completing his circle he sees this light. It's the lighthouse. Suddenly, he has hope again, he knows where he is at and now a better idea of how far away he is from shore. Someone recently said how sometimes we may be the only light people see. Some people will think me, really, but how I am to quiet, to young, to old, to something. That's where you would be very wrong. Yes, you may be one or more of those but doesn't mean you can't be a light. There have been people that has been a light to me and they still don't know it and in ways you would never even think about. You don't have to have elegant speech, a lot of money in your bank account, or be a certain age to be a lighthouse in someones life. A friend sent me a message the other day and they have no idea how that message came at just the right time and they were a lighthouse to me that day. Never, ever underestimate or ignore that little nudge to tell someone something or to do something with someone even if it's just to go up and give them a hug. I promise you whether you know it or not there is a reason why you feel like you need to say or do that. That person may be circling around in the dark looking for a light and that simple thank you for being my friend, or are you doing okay I've had you on my mind or if you are able to go to them and just give them a hug - you just became a lighthouse. I know they say never say never - but never ignore those little nudges no matter how much you have to step out of your comfort zone or if your like me how much you feel like you may be a bother to the person.

So recently I posted something on Facebook that stated my little heart could just burst with joy and that is just from what has happened in the past two weeks. I guess...well I'm not really sure actually what people thought I meant but some asked what my news was. I thought first am I really that private of a person that no one really knows much of my story past or present chapters. I also thought wouldn't it be funny if I commented I met a guy from Ireland, we're getting married and I'm moving to Ireland....bazinga. No but I'm just so happy because so many dreams are coming true. Have you ever got to do something and someone ask you bet you never thought you could say you got to (insert whatever dream thing you got to do here) did you? I have bucket lists - none that I have actually written down but I keep mental notes of them and I have different bucket lists - concert lists, travel lists, even just little things I hope to do with certain people one day. And the last two weeks found me marking off lots on each of those bucket lists. Some times we go through dry spells don't we? Those times where you are just going through the motions, feel like you are the hamster in the wheel, and you still have that hope that certain dreams will happen and certain things will come to pass but it's getting a little dried up. (Kind of feel like here is where you would hear Cassandra say Moisturize me...Doctor Who reference just in case no one has seen that.). Sometimes right when you have taken that last big gulp of air before you sink and think this is the end is when you see that light and/or someone grabs you arm and picks you up. This past Saturday I got to go see Terri Clark and Suzy Bogguss at Renfro Valley and I got to meet them afterwards and get their autograph. I even talked to them and they heard me! Suzy Bogguss looked at me and asked if I had ever thought about picking (music...I mean I don't know someone might read that and think she meant my nose or something!!). I went on to say I wish but I don't although I have a guitar and mandolin and Terri Clark said well don't just let them sit around collecting dust. And then as I was walking away Terri said it was nice to meet you April. Here is where I would love to tell you I have gotten my guitar and mandolin out every day since then and have been practicing and stuff but that would be a lie. Though I haven't done that yet with that simple question and with Terri saying what she did (as well as Suzy saying some of the songs on the CD I bought of hers only had three chords and were easy to try to learn - a good place to start if you will) that really encouraged me.  So if you want an answer to what is making my little heart burst with joy it is that I am getting what I mean to people, I have amazing people in my life that mean the world to me - I even get to call a couple of them mom and pop, I have gotten to go traveling and seeing places that I dreamed about, I have gotten to go to concerts and meet singers that their music I would listen to to pass time and to try to distract my mind on those days it liked to get really loud. That's why I am so happy, that little kid that was always so afraid to let people in that was so afraid that she was to backwards and wouldn't ever be able to do anything, well she has gotten to do oh so very much and I'm just getting started. If I was to use pictures to tell my story I could sum it up in three pictures - chains, a bird cage and a road. At some point and to some degree of time we are all bound by some kind of chain that holds us back I think - some of us have a lot of chains or one that the lock is rusted and you think you are not ever going to break free from it. I have had lots of chains broken - shattered - and though there has been no magic I am right where I want to be now that the chains are broken I have been able to move forward and make progress toward getting to where I want to be, where I have meant to be all along. A bird cage because if a bird has been in a cage for so long it may take some coaxing and a while for them to realize the door is open and they can fly out. People are like that too. We stay so long in our comfort zones, or in the lies and fears that we don't realize the door has been opened and we can be free. Also because when I think of a bird I think of them chirping or singing and sometimes maybe a bird loses its song or forgets some of the words oh but that moment when it remembers or finds its voice again - that's the most beautiful version of that song you will ever hear. I think the same goes for people. When they find their song or remember the words to their song  and you see it in their eyes and hear it in their voice - I think that's true beauty right there. And a road because I have traveled some interesting roads - literally while driving and figuratively while making my way through life. Some I have traveled and they looked like they would be safe, in good condition and I would even see some pretty views along the way and that wasn't always the case. Sometimes those turned in to the worst roads I could have ever traveled. Some roads I got on they were just gravel roads, had some rough places and even got narrow but boy have some of those roads had some of the best views and met some of the best people on those roads. My hope is I never stand to long at a road questioning whether it is a good road to take and all the scenarios my mind could come with and end up not taking any road. I'd rather take the wrong road and turn around and get back on track or take the road that may start out rough but you find it was the right road and it has some amazing views. I'd rather do either of those than just standing at the road and never taking any road. To me that is the worst kind of confusion than any I may have on whatever road I take. You can always turn around but you can't do anything if you don't go.

I titled this whispers of hope and I don't know if it really goes with what I have written but sometimes I'll get little phrases pop in my head and sometimes those phrases will not leave me alone and I will even see things that make me think of it randomly. For example flying and in particular an eagle flying has in some way quite often played a role in popping up in various ways - why I don't know - probably nothing. Then those three words keep coming to mind - whispers of hope. Sometimes, it can take a really long time to find that hope, sometimes it can be loud and so very obvious and sometimes it's just a little whisper. Whether it's loud or just a whisper never stop believing or looking for hope.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

This is my story, this is my song...

You know the drill random thoughts and your guess is as good as mine as where this ride will end up...


On my memories that popped up for this day on Facebook one was from a year ago and I had been reading In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett (still recommend that book if you haven't read it yet) and I had wrote about the people in the studio not wanting her to hire Vicki Lawrence as a regular and how they said she was to rough around the edges. I still love Carol's response which was, so is a diamond at first. Thankfully Carol stood her ground and knew what Vicki had to offer. Carol Burnett is one of my favorite people who happen to be a celebrity, somehow I feel a connection to her that happened the moment I found out her grandma raised her and was a mom to her plus I just love her sense of humor and she is definitely one celebrity I would love to meet. I did get a letter from her, forever grateful she took the time back to respond to a letter I sent to her. Anyway, I loved  her response because whether it's a shot at being a regular on what in my opinion is still the best variety show ever created or just building the confidence to do another dream you may have or even just to build confidence in you - we all at some point I think need or can use someone to remind us and to drown out the lies or just to give us a shot. Sometimes just to know that there are people that care and will be there for you.

So onto another thought, I saw a post the other day from Lisa Harper and it was a video of her daughter (who she adopted from Haiti) and in it her daughter said that if Lisa did good when she got her shots that she just may get her an ice cream and a pony! On the post Lisa used the hashtag apple didn't fall far from the tree and it made me smile for a few reasons. One her daughter is just precious she has such a joyful, happy spirit that you can tell she is just going to go places and be used mightily. Two you can tell the love that is there between mother and daughter. A lot of times when she posts stuff she'll to some degree mention how awesome it is how God worked it out and He picked the perfect daughter for her. You ever see those women that you just know they are meant to be a mom. And to see women like that get to be a mom just makes my heart happy. I love their story too because it gives me hope that maybe one day I will get to adopt and meet the son or daughter that God picks out for me or as I think is more accurate I will just get to meet more kids that I get to be an 'aunt' to. But I love their story too because it reminds me of how God has worked out my story - my story in how I get to have a mom. It's kind of cool isn't to take a glance back at your story and see how things have and/or are working out. To be honest with you I am at a major page turner part of my story and I love my story. I embrace everything about my story cause it made me who I am and it let me meet and now I have some awesome people in my life. I'm still not the best at telling it and I don't always like to tell it but maybe I need to tell more. Disclaimer - anything I write is not to make anyone look bad or to put them down in anyway. I have no ill feelings toward anyone, no grudges, nothing of the like. Growing up I used to wonder if I would ever know what it was to have a mother/daughter relationship and to be honest I didn't think I would cause in part I thought that was part of God punishing me and just proving that He hated me (on a previous post I had written about that in a bit more detail). As I've grown up and over the years I realized that wasn't true but I do think God worked it all out and was actually looking out for me. See when I look back in previous chapters I won't name them but I can tell you that there has been three women that has been a big influence on me and all three in one way or another has or is like a mom to me. First my grandma cause she helped raise me and was the closest thing I had to know what a mom may be, she was sickly all my life so didn't really get to do stuff with her or anything but she gave the best hugs and she was there for me. Then there is the pastor's wife at my church (which I suppose gives it away if you personally know me and read this) who is like a mom and she's helped me tremendously over the years and then a person that God allowed me to meet a couple years ago who is also very much like my mom and I even call her mom and she has helped me a lot too. These three women in their own ways have and are a huge influence in my life. It kind of amazes me really when I look back on my story and the thing that probably has plagued me the most and has been a chain is what happened growing up and that not having a mom or the mom influence that you think of. Now I look back and I see where I currently am in my story and I have a major thanks God moment and I see why what happened did happen and now I wouldn't change any of it for nothing. If I had wrote the story how I thought it was supposed to be written  I would have never met those two very important women that are in my life now. Sometimes I think I am selfish and sometimes I worry that I am a bother to them and stuff but recently I had a thought that could be very wrong or possibly very right. As I have said I don't think you meet anyone by accident or for no reason. Each of these women in their own ways have and are filling in the gap and are letting me know and have a mother's love which I am forever in debt to them for and am forever grateful. Not to mention they just mean so very much to me for just being who they are and I'll never be able to repay them for all that they have done for me. I often say they got the bad end of the deal but I recently had a thought that I may be very wrong and maybe shouldn't say that because maybe I am feeling in some kind of gap that they may have had - at the very least I get to annoy them! But I love Lisa Harper's story with her daughter and so many because I think it proves how awesome God is that in my wee little human brain I am in some way taught to think that it's supposed to happen this way and if it doesn't it never will but stories like mine and Lisa Harper's helps me realize that that isn't true and that it may take awhile ( I was in my twenties when I met one of those women and days away from turning 31 when I met the other one) but things do work out and I think it's a way cooler story and page turner when it happens like this. I love those stories that just when you think they are over and this is going to be a crappy ending something happens and you have the you have got to be kidding me I did not see this happening. It's way better than I could have ever imagined. So in my story I have no idea if I will ever have a kid (biological or adopted), I have no idea how it will play out with certain people in my life but I love my story.

I was recently reading a blog and it was about what to do when we think God is late and it mentioned Sarah and how she laughed and thought there was no way she was going to have a child so she tried to help God and messed up. And how often do we do that, think God didn't hear us or what we may hear or be told is going to happen well we laugh and think there is no way. So we either forget about it or we try to help God out. With Sarah and Abraham they had to wait 25 years for that promise to be fulfilled. That's a lifetime! But I bet if we could talk to Sarah she would say now looking back she saw how it was all worth it and she had a better understanding of how and why it all worked out the way it did. I loved in part of that blog the person wrote how God knows exactly who we are supposed to meet and who is supposed to be in our story and when they are supposed to be in their story. How often do you hear I wish I could have met you sooner? But maybe for various reasons had we met people sooner we wouldn't have had the opportunity to get to know them like we did when we first met them and then we would have missed the chance for them to have the place that they hold in our lives now. If that makes sense. Like I know if I had met some friends that I have sooner we wouldn't have become friends and that would have been terrible. So I'm glad I'm not writing that part of my story either or I would mess it up.

I had another thought but I think this post is done. I don't know your story or where you are in your story but even if it looks a little rough around the edges just remember so does a diamond at first. And no matter how much you may think your story isn't going to end well or make a difference please know that your story is very important and matters and the very next page may just have that dream that you have been waiting so long for. Shall we all keep going to see where our stories lead and may they have the most epic stories and best ending ever!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dreams Come True

I got a lot going through my mind so there really is no rhyme or reason with this just random thoughts I think.

I always say you never meet anyone by chance or for no particular reason even if it's that person in passing that smiles at you - funny isn't it how just a simple acknowledgement of hey I see you and a little smile can help brighten a day. So I recently got to go on a dream road trip and had a couple of those meeting random people moments. One time we had to stop for gas in California and this lady God bless her said she thought I was in high school (I'll take looking that much younger than I am but thank God I am not in high school once was torture enough). Then she asked if I liked the arts ( I do, I love so many different aspects of the arts and Lord knows it is my dream to make a living out of doing stuff related to the arts) and I said yeah and she said I could tell. Then she said a couple more things but I noticed on a couple of the things she said she could feel it and/or tell something about me. I have and still am quite backwards and always worry that I come across as snotty, rude, I am better than you type thing when I really am not. So for her to say one of the things she said made me feel a little better and I hope I am the type of person she said. And then she asked one of the people I went on the trip with if I was their daughter. It is no secret I think of her as my mom and she really has and is like a mom to me but I didn't know what the answer may be - but she told the lady I was their adopted daughter. Hand to God you couldn't have given me a better gift ever than to hear that. But the woman said aw that's great or something like that and I thought oh if you knew my story you would realize just how great that really is. Nw for the other one this one happened in Arizona at a little gas station in I have no idea what part of the state we we're in but I was just glad to see a restroom! So fast forward to me paying for a couple of items and the guy working asks how my day has been and I say it's been great and then ask how his day was. To which he replies well he's at work and would rather be anywhere. I mean I realize it was just small talk but even just taking the time to ask how was your day...sometimes that can mean a whole lot whether you see someone that looks like they have had a rough day and maybe they need to talk or someone that looks like they have had a great day and you ask how has their day been and maybe you find out they have got the best news ever and you get to briefly share in their joy. 

So I have mentioned I went on a recent road trip and it really was the best trip I have ever been on. And not all because of the places I got to see. Although I have to say so many dreams came true on this trip. I got to go out west and to the West coast, got to go to several states I had never been to, got to see part of Route 66 (big time dream of mine and we even stayed in a hotel right off of Route 66), got to see the Grand Canyon (which I cried when I was told we was going there - don't judge, it has also been another long time dream),  got to see parts of Yosemite and see the Painted Dessert. For this little ol' quiet girl from the sticks that was a trip that never seemed likely. So I am forever grateful. But can I tell you my absolute favorite part of the trip - being with the people I got to go on the trip with. Tyler Perry once gave the perfect analogy of people in your life and he said everyone in your life is like a part of a tree you got your roots,branches and leaves. Sometimes we try to force and want the leaves kind of people to be roots but they were never meant to be. They are meant to be in your life for a moment and purpose and then leave, the branches people they stay a bit longer and give a bit more support then you have the roots kind of people or the phrase I have taken to use that I heard someone say - those people God knits you together with. God bless those people. Sometimes I think it's easy to take the roots kind of people for granted but hopefully we never do. Really I think  we should be grateful for the leaves and branches too they all help and make the tree (or help make us who we are). Earlier I mentioned if that woman knew my story - see in part of my story I think we believe there are certain people that have to be roots but they aren't supposed to be cause see by who they are they seemingly should be roots and be there but I think God sees that they are better to you as a leaf or a branch. And the really cool part is that when God makes people as a leaf or branch He also brings those roots kind of people in your life. Cause if you ain't got good roots the tree ain't going to live long. And so we got to be careful trying to put people in roots places when they are only supposed to be branches or leaves. And if you are like me try not to push the people that are supposed to be roots cause I sometimes tend to try to push people away. But point, if there is one, is that it may take awhile to meet those roots kind of people but they show up just when you need them and thank God for them cause they help you grow and they help you learn how to deal with those branches and leaf people that sometimes cause trouble and sometimes you just get to go on a once in a lifetime road trip with those roots kind of people and you get to see it's okay to let people in. 

Whether I am I leaf, branch or happen to be a root in someone's tree I hope I am always able to make a positive difference so that I in some little way can help the tree. And I am grateful for those people that have had their part in my tree and story. Whether it's a lady that thought I was still in high school or those that are more like family to me. It's amazing when something as simple as having the right people in your life makes dreams come true.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Yeah but what if...

Buckle up buttercup this could be an interesting or very boring ride - I got about 25 tabs in the old brain opened up today and I came up with that title before I started writing...all systems are good to go keep your hands inside at all times there may be a few bumps along the way but set back and enjoy the ride as best as you can and we thank you for riding with ramblings of a quiet girl on this mighty fine day!

Have you ever noticed that the statement yeah but what if truly has the potential to build up walls or build bridges? You really have to be careful and pay attention on which station you pick that statement up at. Because it can open up doors or build them or it can close them. It can help a dream go a little further or destroy it. Give hope or take it away. Now I don't know maybe you are already thinking she has lost it that makes no sense whatsoever. Can I just tell on myself and maybe explain a little better at what I mean?

Let's just get the negative out of the way first. I am one that will keep people at a distance - work in progress on that one. I, well I like to have control on how far you come in my little bubble and if you start getting close then I freak out. Granted not near to the level I did even this time last year. Now here is where that yeah but what if statement plays havoc on me. It's not that I don't want to let people in or to be close to people - quite the opposite actually. However, there are days that I pick up my buddy yeah but what if on the wall building station. So as an example I have realized that I have let that wall down with a couple people and I'll talk to them and be honest with them about what is going on with me and stuff like that and I had my moment of oh no I am getting comfortable around them I am being myself - that mask I sometimes wear around people is coming off - and I panic and pull into a station to grab a solution. Only problem is I don't pay attention to what station I am at and so I get the not good station and here's what I get. Yeah you've taken a step forward and are letting people in but what if....what if you are bothering them, what if they don't want you around, what if you are interfering with them, and my good frienemy the ever popular what if they leave. You know what all of these statements are - blocks. They are blocks that can be used to build that wall back up. I don't want that wall built back up.

Now here's a bit of how that statement can be used in a positive maybe even encouraging way. So let's say I'm having a not so good day and I picked up some of those blocks thanks to the yeah but what if at the negative station. Here I am already laying the blocks up perhaps someone comes along and says something to me, maybe to even say hey I just wanted to say you have come a really long way or some other encouraging statement. I am just about to put another block down and what they say gets me thinking and I catch another ride to another station. This time I get the positive yeah but what if. Yeah I started building that wall back up and yeah I stumbled and said something I shouldn't have but what if I make that stumble a part of the dance. What if on the things that didn't work out exactly like we planned that we don't give up but have a well okay I know that won't work but what if I try it this way, what if I look at it from this perspective, what if I just ask for help.

I like to go walking on trails, don't get to that often unfortunately, but I enjoy it. Recently I went walking on a trail that whooped my out of shape self - oh but when I got to the destination it was worth every single bit of sweat that was drenching my shirt and helping make sure I had a bad hair day and sore muscle that I was already feeling. I wasn't exaggerating about the out of shape thing! I try to push myself as far as I can before I stop because there was a time that I couldn't have even went a short distance without having to stop just because I was already that pooped and ready to go back. On this trail and safe to say on every trail I have or will ever walk I am going to have to stop. No shame in that. Be it a trail you are walking or a trail you are going through in life. Somedays you just got to rest - who knows while you are resting someone might come along with something to say that will help you or you just might have something to say to help them. On one trail I recently walked I got to this part and there was lots of steps - good gravy if it didn't look like they went on forever - so I stood at the bottom of those steps thinking how am I going to make it up those steps (I got a knee sometimes both that like to remind me they hate climbing steps). Finally I had my right, well this ain't getting me no where so I take that first step and walk. I'd love to say I got up those steps in one take no stops and not even that out of breath and barely broke a sweat. I didn't. I got about half way and had to stop. As I was catching my breath I looked back and thought well I got pretty far before I had to stop then I look forward and thought oh my look how far I got to go. As I was standing there catching my breath I tried to change that first though of oh no look how far I still got to go to look how far you made it you can make it the rest of the way. So I've got my breath now and again I take that first step and this time though it looked forever away to the top of what I had left of those steps wouldn't you know I made it. Oh I forgot to mention see there was this woman and her dog that was walking ahead of me on the trail well she took those stairs and took them fast and didn't have to stop one time and was gone. That in my weird way of thinking is a good example of why you can't judge how fast or far you get in life or a trial. You see some people they face stuff and nip it in the bud and fast while you're still at the bottom of the stair case afraid to take the first step. Now that lady she was in better shape she was more prepared to go up those steps - just like it can be with some trails people face. I don't know what a person has had to go through how their faith or what have you has been exercised to be built up to take this trial or to get them so far. See there are some people that would look at both of us and how we took those stairs and some may say that woman won hands down and I lost big time. I'd say we both won. It's not in how fast you go walking a trail or enduring a trial in life. Starting out great doesn't always equal ending great and as much as I want a great start and to be able to enjoy the ride in between the start and finish a great ending is what I ultimately strive for. I want a well done kind of ending. That is my goal. See that day when I stopped halfway up those steps or that one time that I was halfway up a hill and became a tree hugger as I leaned against a tree to catch my breath I had two choices - actually three. I could say this isn't worth it and I'm just going back or I could say just let me catch my breath and I'll keep going forward or I could have rested there and just stayed there. Resting ain't quitting unless you want it to be. As I have said sometimes we all have to rest, you got to get the food and water be it literal or figurative to help build up what you have lost and give you strength. And some days even after you have rested and started walking forward well some days you just got tel yourself one step at a time baby one step at a time. Don't get so focused on how far you got to go or oh I only made it this far today. Some days that one step is all you needed to take that day, or at least for me some times that one step was like crossing a canyon and that's all I got in me for that day. And don't be in such a hurry - you never know the person that you might meet along the way that y'all can help each other or that stumble and even the rest just might be keeping you from an obstacle that you ain't prepared to properly face and defeat just yet.

Am I always going to pick up my thoughts and such on the right station - nope. Am I going to have days where I rest just a little bit to long until someone comes along and asks hey you coming - yeah to both.

Still may we be careful what station we pick up our own thoughts and where we are picking up the people that we travel this journey with. I am so thankful for the people that have become more like family, they are family and encourage, help and are a positive influence for this ride.

*Rest if you must but don't quit.
*Use those doubts and fears as blocks to build a bridge instead of a wall - that way you get to the other side and drown those doubts and fears too
 *You got this, look how far you have already made - good for you

Every day may not be perfect and I might not gracefully take the steps that I took that day but I want to keep going forward. I didn't come this far to stay here or to go back and if you ever see me start to go back please do not, I repeat do not hesitate to call me out on it or just grab my arm and say nope nothing back there you're destination is this way. We ain't getting out of this thing alive we might as well have each others backs - makes it less lonely and some days we all need a little help and encouragement.


Friday, August 4, 2017

This and that and a whole lot of rambling

I guess the best way to get these thoughts written down is just to write and not over think the flow or if it makes sense. And as always it's a good chance this has been written before - memory she isn't what it used to be - if it ever was good, I can't remember!

A couple or so weekends ago I went walking on some trails this happened to also be a weekend where the heat index was well in the low 100's. To my credit I really didn't know that it was going to be that hot. I found out quick when I started walking except see I'm kind of a weakling at times when it comes to pain and such so I just had a suck it up buttercup and walk. Plus to be honest I don't always have a lot of energy and I've for quite some time not really been physically, emotionally and such able to make myself little alone want to go walking so that day I found enough gumption if you will to go and I was going to make myself walk. Except I pushed myself a little to much. That's kind of got me thinking. I think there is a fine line sometimes with that. In life - it's never a straight path - narrow, curvy, bumpy, mountains and valleys - that I can sell and buy - but I can't the straight and easy path - never trust anyone that tries to sell you that package deal. That day I tried to push myself but I pushed to much. I think there may be a fine line between staying in your comfort zone and pushing yourself to much. And it's that sometimes easy, sometimes road that looks impossible to navigate - that lovely road we call life.

I don't have kids but I've always heard it takes a village to raise a kid - you know what I think - it takes a village to raise us all - adult or child. I had a line from the song Words by Hawk Nelson come to mind today and that was - "Words can build you up, words can break you down. Start a fire or put it out." If I'm honest my words have been breaking me down and putting out the fire. But back to the village thought for a second. My thought process is weird and as fidgety as I often am especially when I am nervous or bored. Close to where I live is Fort Boonesboro and I got thinking about that and how in a fort there is this big wall/fence to protect the people inside. Now generally you got several families in that fort - but see for a long time I built my own little fort and I wouldn't let anyone in. Over the years I have let a few in - at least so far in but I still kept them at a distance. That's not safe though on so many levels. See in a fort you need all the people in the village to help protect and help you survive. When I am in the fort by myself I can't watch out for any attacks of a predator, take care of the garden so I have, make any repairs to the houses or walls, and so many other things. That's to much for one person to do. And then before long the fort and village falls in despair. Now I've had people that will knock on the door and I will or would open the door a little or open the little window in the door so I could talk to them but not let them in. Here's why I say it takes a village no matter how old you are - because one, I believe we meet everyone for a reason and two because those people can help you. Some people we meet and we're just supposed to have that passing meeting with them which can often have a very powerful impact so don't downplay that simple smile, hi or compliment that you feel you need to tell someone in passing. Some people are meant to stay for a season - some a short season and some a long season - a lifetime kind of season - I think those are the people that God knits in your life. All of these people help you, they help make your village stronger and better and they can help make the walk a little bit more bearable on the rough days and more fun on the other days. Because we all have been through something and we all have something to offer. I'm not the best at everything, good at some things and can barely get by on a lot of things. However, in my strengths I can help myself and use that to make the repairs I can in my fort and use it to help make repairs in others forts or villages and in my weaknesses that's when I can go to someone that has been through it or can encourage me. Maybe their one that can till the garden or plant that seed of hope or water that seed of faith that I neglected for so long while I was repairing other things. I don't know if any of this makes sense at all. Maybe you have these kind of people in your life now and maybe you're like me and sometimes keep them at a distance and God bless those ones that still stick around and when you do open that door they are standing there with a smile and open arms. Do you have those people in your life that just talking to them or getting a hug from or just seeing them makes you feel better? Those are awesome people to have in your village. Those ones that will set you straight but will also just be there. And extra bonus if that person is one that knows when it's the right time to do either or both of those.

I guess what I'm trying to say is be careful the words you say to others and to yourself because those words can easily become the predator that is trying to invade and destroy your village. And be careful who you let in your village not everyone will be there to help you but don't let that cause you to never let anyone in. I can tell you from experience that's not a wise decision. Because if you keep everyone out but let that one in that wasn't there to help well now you're in trouble cause you are having to fight your enemy on your own and you have no unknown strategy or battle plan cause the enemy has seen what he is against. However, if you let others in then when the enemy is unmasked well now you got more people behind you that can lift you up when you fall, encourage when those words are being said and trying to tear you down and put the fire and you got more people that can help come up with battle plans. Cause some of them may have had to fight the same enemy. I'm thankful for the people that God has placed in my village because they have and are helping me in so many ways and it's a lot less lonely now. They are helping make this road more fun to travel.

I get random verses and lines from songs stuck in my head so I often come up with an unintentional new song! As previously mentioned I had that line from the song by Hawk Nelson come to mind and then I had the line I'm on the battlefield for my Lord come to mind - I don't know why and I know it is so random. But with some of the things I have been facing I think I need to be more careful with my words to others and myself because sometimes that becomes a battlefield and what words I use and think can easily determine whether I win or lose.

And I'm a winner. I'm an overcomer. All days aren't going to be perfect but I won't let the bad days win and take over.