Thursday, November 9, 2017

Fear is knocking on the door

Knock - Knock
(shhh...don't say who's there. I just took a peak out the window and it's our old friend fear again.)
Knock-Knock
(maybe if I answer and tell him I don't want to talk to him anymore he will go away...no don't open the door he gets a foot in the door he will come back in and stay for way to long.)
Knock-Knock - from the other side I hear - "You'll never get rid of me, you're nothing without me, what will people think if they knew who you really were..."
(Shut up, just shut up, I whisper as I sit with my back against the door wondering will I ever get rid of fear, trying to remember the truths that I know)

Sometimes that how it feels like when I have one of visits from fear. I don't like when fear comes for a visit. I try not to answer the door anymore but sometimes it finds its way back inside. It has recently. I finally got to buy NF's latest record, Perception and I'd like to use some lines from his Intro 3 to write some thoughts that I have had. First and foremost fear is a liar - one of those you wish that saying liar, liar pants on fire could happen to. It took me way to long to get that and I've spent the last year working and trying very hard to fight and defeat that lie and I have but it likes to come back and try to visit sometimes. So if you're not familiar with NF on his last record he had a song called Mansion and on it he talked about building a room to keep everyone out cause it was safer that way and how fear moved in and there is a line that states: Now I'm in the position it's either sit here and let him win or put him back outside where he came from, but I never can
'cause in order to do that I'd have to open the doors. Is that me or the fear talking? I don't know anymore...I learned in the past year that it's fear talking and telling you don't open the door it's locked and it's safer on this side of the door, if people find out what has been in this room they'll never accept you, don't open that door there's a monster on the other side of that door you can't face it. I got help opening that door and I realized it was fear talking, there wasn't anything bad or scary on the other side of that door, in fact there was some people that was willing to help me and they even accepted me. Now fast forward to last night listening to Perception CD for the first time and usually I will skip a song after about thirty seconds to a minute and then go back and listen to all of the songs (habit I do when I get a new CD, not sure why) but that didn't happen when Intro 3 started playing. So in the song it's basically a conversation between fear and NF and fear is just doing what fear does best beating you down and keeping you down and in that room that it has made you believe is safe. There is a part where fear is talking and it says I know I'm controlling but you are just going to have to get used to it cause I got a room and I'm comfortable I'm not going anywhere and you can't get rid of me, not completely, not ever. And for me that is one thing that has been the hardest to get rid of is that part of the fear that says you never will completely be rid of me, you're nothing without me, you will never be completely rid of me. So fear is just pounding him - you know what fear reminds me of - Goliath, ever read the story of David and Goliath in the Bible (if not you should, I keep finding stuff I never noticed before each time I read it also would recommend reading the story of Joseph, I keep getting taught stuff from his story too). So yeah, fear is this thing that likes to run its mouth to try to keep you scared and from seeing who you really are and your potential, tries to keep in your tent in the campground like what was happening in the story of David and Goliath. Now in the song they've taken this fight outside still going back and forth and a hole is being dug  and fear says Wait a minute, you don't really think for a second that you're puttin' me in this? And NF responds back with No, of course not, just a lil' deeper then we'll go inside and we can stop diggin' So Fear gives a sigh of relief and says You had me scared for a second, I though we were diggin' my grave....Now we're getting ready to talk about my two favorite parts of this song and this subject - if you have had enough patience to read this far it's about to pay off - I hope - it did for me anyway when I realized some things.

Okay so fear has got a little bit nervous, right, we're fighting back we're starting to see that he is a controlling, pushing, lying nuisance. So we've been digging and figuring out ways to defeat him. So in the song fear has just said he's scared cause he thought NF was digging fears grave and NF says: We did, what, you don't like bein' afraid? It's a dose of your own medicine. What, you don't like how it tastes? And he goes on to say putting the shovel away going back in his house and fear will be back in a week saying he wants his room back and he will just look out the window and laugh. Now for the line that started this whole thing to begin with...

'Cause I thought you had me in prison this whole time, but I'm the one holdin' the keys.

One line can hold so very much truth. See here's what I am figuring out, myself and so many others we're in this prison that fear has us believing we can't get out of or we shouldn't get out of because it's safer in here and he's distracting us from seeing that we have the keys to get out, he's distracting us from seeing the real state of the room we are in. I don't know about yours but mine was a mess and it was lonely. If you ever watched The Andy Griffith Show you know when Otis had a bit to much to drink or as I think he said just needed to get away from his wife he'd show up at the sheriff's office and what would he do - get the keys that was hanging in between the two cells, unlock his cell, walk in and shut the door and reach through and hang the keys back up on the wall. The next day or however long he decided to stay when he was ready to leave or when he wanted to grab a bite of food that Aunt Bea brought in what would he do? Reach through grab the keys off the wall and unlock the door and let himself out.  But Otis knew he had the keys, he knew they were right there he could come and go as he pleased. Otis didn't see the jail cell as a prison. So it got me thinking - again. Sometimes you just got to look at things like Otis (minus the drinking part - for me anyway). See fear is good at running its mouth and keeping you distracted cause it's like that bully, it's more scared of you than you have a reason to be of it. I've dealt with lots of different kinds of fears growing up and I've dealt with a couple different ones since I was a kid, ones that caused me to build that room and make my own prison. In part I didn't even realize it was a prison and I never thought I could get out of it until about a year ago. Now I've got out of that prison but sometimes like Otis I go back in but unlike Otis sometimes I stay to long and the fear distracts me and makes me forget that I have the keys so I get back in those old fears and they try to take me back to where I used to be but I'm not going back there. Sometimes, fear follows me out of the cell I think and I get afraid and unsure when I get out of my comfort zone, what is this, I don't understand what is going on this doesn't feel safe, so fear whispers go back to that room, go back to your comfort zone, it's safe there, nothing can hurt you there. Sometimes I listen to fear and I walk, no I sometimes run back to my prison. Fear might trick me and get me back in the prison but I'm going to find the keys and get out, might need some help. In fact I have even tried to do better about that and tell one of the two people I feel I can talk to about stuff that I'm dealing with and I try to tell them these fears and lies are really attacking me again, what do I do, basically I'm telling them I can't find the keys, where did I put the keys so I can open this door to get out, please help me out. Oh and can I also say please don't beat yourself up if there is a lie or fear that seems to keep coming back or you think you are never going to beat it - that's just the fear talking, it's afraid you're going to realize just how far you have come and how close you are to really destroying this thing once and for all. And you know sometimes it takes the bird dropping that ol' snake a few times before it's ready to be served for lunch but you will beat it, you have the keys, never forget that. 

That Irish in me, I can't tell a story short to save me. But my point in all of this is, yeah sometimes fears come back and sometimes in the sneakiest of ways but don't let it bully you into silence or to believe that you can't win or have no fight (for me the popular things seems to be why fight it you know I'll win or will be right back, you're never getting rid of me, that type of thing)...but you my friend are a warrior and you must have it in you to be one awesome fighter otherwise why is fear so afraid of you seeing who you really are - because it knows you will stomp it's scrawny butt into the ground into tiny little pieces never to be put back together again. So please don't ever forget that you are not what fear says you are, you are not going to be like that person that fear tells you that you will be like (I can't be the only one that gets that one too). You are so much more. You are an unfinished masterpiece that every day is getting more and more pieces of the truth added to it. You are an overcomer, you are a survivor. You are a warrior.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Finding My Seat at the Table

It's a grab bag of random thoughts and I don't know what's about to be written. Let's see what our first prize in the grab bag of thoughts is shall we?

Carrying a lot of weight can wear you out and I'm not talking about someone's physical stature I mean carrying an object or sometimes the weight of something we were told or went through. I have some how managed to get a really early start on shopping for Christmas gifts (it's nothing short of a miracle) and the other day I was in WalMart with the sole intention of getting just one persons gift but then I thought while I'm here let me see if I can find something for someone else. Wouldn't have been a big deal except both of those gifts ended up being in big boxes and I didn't have a buggy (cart, whatever you prefer to call that lovely invention that I forget to get every time I go to the store)I briefly thought I could go get one but then I thought no I am going to go as soon as I pick up that last big box I should be okay. So picture it, me carrying two big boxes with a few small things on top (because have I mentioned I have an obsession with cards cause you never know when someone may need a card giving to them). Wasn't to heavy walking and finally finding a line that didn't have to many people. So I'm standing there holding my stuff thinking I can hold this until I can put it on the counter it's not that heavy, no big deal. It got heavy. And I am convinced glasses know when you have your hands full because that's when they decide to slide down every time without fail. So the boxes are getting heavy, my glasses are slowly using my nose as a slide and I finally just have to set the boxes down. By the time I get to pay for my stuff my arms have got a rest and my glasses are staying just fine where they need to -mostly. The cashier asks if I have a buggy (just work with me if you call it something different!) and I say no but I'll be okay, I think, I hope. Because I don't learn and I didn't want to take up anyone's time. So again i have my little bag full of cards and my two big boxes. This isn't that bad I got this. Until there go the glasses sliding and when I walk outside I have an oh no I forgot where I parked moment. So I finally am fairly certain I am in the right lane of where I parked but am having that did I really park this far down moment - I did. I make it to my car without any stops and keeping my glasses from doing an epic slide off of my nose but by the time I got to my vehicle those boxes had gotten heavy again. Shew, that was a lot to get to my point! Which is this - sometimes in life things happen, many times we have no control over it, but it places a weight on us. Often times we don't even realize we are carrying it or even how heavy it is - until that moment we sit it down. I have had a weight that I have carried for a long time, now back in 2005 I sit a box of it down and thought that was it but it wasn't I was still carrying weight from it with me. I'll be honest I thought what I had laid down was as good as it was ever going to get, this weight was just something I was going to have to learn to carry. But fast forward to 2015 and I get to meet someone, one of those people that God places in your life. So with their help and patience they helped me see how much of the weight I was still carrying and I laid some more down. Now you'd think I would have laid it all down at this point right, not quite. I still had some walls up and still carrying some of the weight from lies and fears. So here we are in 2017 - if you want a count this is 27 years since I picked up a box of lies and fears (if you want to know that means that this chapter in my story started way back when I was six years old). Last night, a simple just sitting and talking and listening to someone helped me knock down one of those last small pieces - can I just say sometimes those small pieces can weigh you down more than the heavy pieces and can be a lot more tricky to get rid of - but because someone chose to take time and sit with me and talk - they unknowingly helped me sit that last piece down and that last piece was small but it held a lot. I suddenly seemed to realize yup God has placed the right people in my life and these people really see me how they have said and shown it and you know what it's time to let people in because God is restoring things that were lost, things that I never got to have or know what it was like to have - simple kinds of relationships - but God is letting me have that now. Is it or has it been easy - nope but boy does that make the victories that much more sweeter and more awesome.

So we've shed some of that weight we've been carrying around - I don't know about you but I feel like taking a deep breath and just enjoying how light this feels. I really didn't realize how heavy that was. Now let what else is in this grab bag....looks like a pack of seeds.

I think throughout all of our lives different seeds are planted and grow - for many of us, I daresay all of us to some degree - seeds of lies and fears can take over our garden and keep the truth seeds of who we are, what we can do, what we are meant to do, our importance, etc from growing like they were meant to. Those fears and lies are nothing but weeds that take over and prevent the truth seeds from getting the light, water and nutrients they were meant to get. Can I tell you something though? You can't defeat the truth - the truth always finds a way to breakthrough - it's not always easy and it can take along time but the truth of who you are and all the awesomeness that you bring to this world will come out. I always you never meet anyone by accident - some of those people knowingly or not plant the seeds that become fears and lies but thank God for those people that get planted that bring truth. Those people that take the time to pull the weeds of lies and fear and have the patience to sit with you while the seeds of truth get nourished and get the light that has been withheld for so long but is now getting to them and helping them to grow and be who they were always meant to be.  Because sometimes we need help and if you are like me and have spent many years with those walls built up afraid to let people in that's not always easy to admit or accept. But I am learning that it makes that weight a lot easier to carry, it makes this ride a lot less lonely and even fun and we just wasn't meant to tackle this all on our own.

We're just moving right along in this grab bag, aren't we? So this next one is sitting at the table and being vulnerable (it was a buy one get one free grab). If you have never heard the song To The Table by Zach Williams, you need to look it up and listen to it (actually just buy the whole CD that song is on you won't regret it). Recently I saw Zach Williams in concert and before he sang this song he said picture the longest table you can imagine and there is a seat at this table with your name on it. This table is a special table that God has and this table has what many of us would label failures, rejects, those that have been abandoned, the nothings - see that's what the seeds of lies and fears would have us think we are and it makes us think we can't have a seat at this table. Part of that song states:  But you keep standing at a distance in the shadow of your shame. There's a light of hope that's shining won't you come and take your place and bring it all to the table...it goes on to state: He can see the weight you carry the fears that hold your heart but through the cross you've been forgiven you're accepted as you are.

I am one to stand off to the side and at a distance - literally and figuratively - and I'll be honest I spent all of my life thinking there is no way I could have a seat at this table because all those lies and fears and that shame kept me from walking up and sitting down at this table. Recently I went to visit a cousin I hadn't seen in awhile and we got talking about some stuff that had happened and she said that has to be a deep wound and I just kind of shrugged and thought yeah it is a little bit but it's all good. Then a few days later I was at this service at a church and a woman came up and was talking to me and it was one of those that they don't know you and they tell you stuff so you know that God is using them to get you to listen and one thing she said was there is a deep wound but she said that in every single one of the times I was abandoned and rejected and every thing else that happened God was with me. Now if you don't know my story, I won't get into it but I will you that during a lot of times I questioned God and I wondered where He was at and I thought, no I was convinced that God hated me and I had done something to make Him mad at me and not be there. Now over the past couple of years especially I have learned that was a lie but to hear and have that really sink in that God was with me through it all well that pulled a lot of those weeds of lies and fears. Zach Williams also sings a song called Fear Is A Liar and in that song he lists all those negative things that we sometimes hear others say about us or sometimes we say about ourselves but fear is a liar. I'm learning that as much as it scares me to let people in it's also okay to be vulnerable and to be real. I've worn a mask most of my life - put on that front that I'm okay, look and act like I think supposed to so I can be liked and hopefully I can be a ninja and y'all won't even notice me. But that mask gets smothering and I'm tired of wearing it. Is that to say I won't pick it up and put it back on some days - no because I am sure I will. But I'm learning that my story has a purpose and it's okay to share my story, it's okay for me to be my dorkish, nerd self. It's even okay if I laugh my obnoxious laugh. Because can I tell you something for the first time in possibly ever, I have a sense of belonging, a sense of joy and love that I have never had, that I was to afraid to accept or thought I was deserving of. There is a part of me that is afraid of what is going to happen or what will they really think of me but see the people that are meant to be in my life they will love me and they will continue to be there to help me pull up those weeds of lies and fears and they will be there to just enjoy the simple things in life. There are so many things that I am getting to enjoy and see and have for the first time - things that are so unbelievably simple and people wouldn't even think about. I'll be honest I'm in new territory. I'm truly thankful that God has placed the people He has in my life. And I am so glad that I had people that have helped me see that I do have that seat at the table and I deserve to sit there - and so do you.

So in conclusion, never underestimate what seems simple to you but could be the one thing that will help lift a weight from someone that they have been carrying. May we always be careful which seeds we water and nourish and may we always be able to pull up those weeds of lies and fears so the seeds of truth can flourish and thank God for those that help destroy the lies and fears. Always remember you have never done anything that has made you undeserving of a seat at the table and sometimes it's okay to be vulnerable because oftentimes you will find you wasn't the only one that has been through that or felt like that.

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.