Tuesday, June 12, 2018

I'm Afraid of the Dark

Some of you all ust read the title and are laughing, some already typing out God didn't give you a spirit of fear before they even open it, and some of you are thinking what in the world is she rambling about now (nothing wrong with either of those). That's a good question, I don't know if I will answer it but if you give me a few minutes of your time I would like to confess something.

I'm afraid of the dark.

Yes, you read that correctly and no I don't really mean the night time. Sure I used to be afraid of the dark when I was a kid but the night time is also when I got to see the stars and imagine flying up in the skies to get a better view. No, this is a different dark I am going to confess facing. I have no label or title for it so I just call it dark because that's how it feels - dark, empty, alone. Want to know what I am more afraid of than the dark? I'm afraid I won't find the light again.

Now that we got that out of the way please allow me to take this somewhat of a side road on this thought.  The dark, fear, lies, whatever of the many names it attacks you as has this way to make the ones facing it to maybe think I can't talk to so and so I will bother them,they are going through stuff themselves, etc. And for those of us that are seeing and know the darkness is attacking a loved one well sometimes there is this uncomfortable sense that may stop you from asking one more time are you okay, let's grab lunch, or to just sit. Seeing the tricks and lies is a huge step to getting through this,no I will not type get over it. Yes, sometimes people get so stuck you need to show a little tough love to snap them out of it and help them back up. But to be honest with you I don't like the phrase get over it or something that implies that. And no doubt I am guilty of saying that - my apologies to anyone I did that to. When I get over it, I don't it just gets buried because I didn't get that process of even dealing with why it bothered me and such but that just may be me and something else I need to work on. Here's what I want to do for me and I hope I can do for others. I want to get through it, I know it might not be easy and I may get beat up and I may fall a few times but I want to get through it so if there is a next time that I have to face a particular darkness I got some armor on and know that I can beat this and I will have some of my own tricks and maneuvers to fight back. And sure there may be a time you get over it but I'm getting through it, I'm going to fight back, I'm going to see the light.

I'm currently reading a book titled, What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts)
 by Nancy Guthrie..it was a book I kind of found by accident while looking through a section at the bookstore but I know so many that are grieving and I don't ever know what to say so it seemed worth buying. So far it has helped but I also realized these are not only good for someone grieving a loss of a loved one but really even in those moments that one may just be facing any kind of dark moment. I'm only in chapter 3 but if you will allow me the time I would like to point tout a few things that have stuck with me and can really be used with anyone facing a difficulty. One was thinking there was someone checking on them so they didn't and it becomes no one ends up being there for the person. Now you all know I am a firm believer you meet people for a reason and I believe God places people in your life and may we all have at least one person that we can go to or that will think I haven't heard from so and so I need to check on them. Please if you ever have that gut feeling listen to it, your simple message may make the person's day so much better. The other thing was we think the person we go to to talk needs to be left alone because they are going through stuff - on the other hand also don't get offended if they don't talk like they used to for a time. But they need time and space but not to the point of feeling deserted. This one has been a tricky one for me on both ends to be honest especially lately cause one of the people I have finally gotten comfortable to talk with is going through their own stuff and I keep not talking to them cause I feel like I will bother them (even more than I normally worry about that). And the last one I will mention is we worry we will say the wrong thing - so much so that we don't say anything. There is absolutely a time to just sit with the person but don't be afraid to say something no matter how simple or not helpful you think it may be because it really may come out wrong but it could also be just what the person needs to hear.

So the dark can be a pit but we won't be in the pit forever. This life can be tricky so may we not hesitate to help those that God puts in our life to help them out of the pit and sometimes that may even mean giving them a tough love kick (I'm fairly certain I have one I will be getting and rightfully so). See sometimes I will repeat the right words I know to say in trying to spark the light to brighten the room again and find my way out and every drop of the truth helps and I most definitely have to do my part but sometimes we need that trusted friend to pray with us, to kick us, to hold out a hand or lend an ear.

I'm afraid of the dark but I see the light.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Letters to Me

I can't sleep. I have way to much on my mind with way to many tabs open in my brain. So here I am writing. Rambling. It's probably a repeat rambling too. Not even sure why I am sharing this one but I got it all wrote out so I guess I might as well. I've been slacking on writing anyway so at least it will be something.

You know how people often say if I could go back I would change so and so decision that I made or something like that? I got thinking about that tonight, actually been thinking about that for a while. I don't ever under any circumstances want to go back even if it ever did become possible. Nope, don't you dare make me. I would however send a letter to younger me if possible just cause younger me likes to get letters/cards too and I might would pay attention to that. I would specifically like to have a letter sent to me at six years old and 17 years old. Each one would be slightly different.

For example the letter to six year old me would go something like this:

Dear April,
I know you don't really understand what is going on right now and are trying to figure it out to make some kind of sense. It will never make perfect sense and that's going to be okay and you know what so are you. I need you to remember that God doesn't hate you and is in fact with you and is going to get you through some pretty rough nights and moments - it just may take you many years to fully understand this. Please remember that it is going to be okay and you are tough, you will make it through this.
You wouldn't believe me if I told you

Then at 17 years old my letter would go something like this:

Dear April,
Congratulations you have made it to your senior year of high school almost survived. That's awesome, I hope you are proud of yourself because you should be. I need to give you a little warning it's going to be a difficult year for you but please remember you are strong, so much stronger then you give yourself credit for. For many, many years, potentially for the rest of your life you are going to think of your senior year as the worst year of your life because you see for three months you will see your grandma fight her hardest fight against cancer and she gave it her all but from this side it looks like the cancer won and you are going to have to say see you later to your grandma - I won't lie it's going to be the hardest thing you will have to do. I'm going to warn you too that at this time you are going to have to fight really, really hard cause you will have some massive lies and fears coming your way and it will even look like they are going to win but you hold on okay, hold on with everything you got because although the lies are going to say just give up, you would be better off dead you have some awesome things to look forward to. Can I tell you a few things? By now you have fought really hard with feeling alone and that you aren't worthy and that you don't matter - keep fighting against those lies and fears. Because you aren't alone God is always there with you (it's true and one day you do start to fully grasp this) and on top of that God is going to send some amazing people in your life. Please always remember that you are an overcomer and you will overcome these battles that have and will try to destroy you, you are going to accomplish some goals that you never even dreamed of because you was to afraid to, you're going to fall and that's okay because you're going to get back up each time, you're going to cry a lot I will just let you know now you are a crier but that's okay, you may want to get used to people saying you are quiet and always be ready to spell your last name. Now by now you have got some really high walls built up it's going to be awhile longer but you will get to tear those walls down - it's a good thing, I promise. In a few months you're going to be really angry with God and think you aren't going to ever have anyone in your life to even get a hug from and feel really alone but I promise it gets better. You are going to meet someone that will take you under their wings and help you a lot, they will become more like family. And you are going to get to meet some cousins that will also help you tremendously. Now it's going to be an interesting roller coaster of a ride one that you will wish for it to permanently stop a few times. Keep fighting here okay. And you even get to talk to your brother, I know you won't believe it when it happens either. As I write this that's about all I know of that but it's a major step forward. Now, are you still wondering about the question you have been asking since you was six? I know you are and can I tell you the answer - yes...yes you will get to know what it is like to have a mother's love and influence and God will even send someone that you get to call mom and you are going to meet people that will adopt you into their family and come to mean so very much to you. See you got so very much ahead of you, more than I even realize as I write this to send to you. So it's going to be difficult but you are strong and you will hang in there and fight like hell to overcome it. Because you got a story to share one that though you don't think it matters it is going to - it always has and it always will. You may not see it now and it may take a long time but you're going to laugh like you ain't laughed and you're going to get a lot of hugs and even get to where you can give hugs. So you keep fighting because you are going to do some amazing things. Don't you ever give up okay?
You still wouldn't believe me if I told you.

I guess that's why we can't go back or send letters because we wouldn't believe what we told our younger selves at all, at least I wouldn't. But you know I am glad I can take a quick trip and look back at how far I have made it. I may still have a lot to work on but thank God I am not where I used to be. And I am so thankful for the people that are in my life that have and continue to be there for me and help me. I'm so glad I am realizing it's okay to let people in. I'm thankful for the scars and the wear and tear from carrying loads that we're never mine to carry because though it has been and some days continues to be a hard fight it is also a reminder that I am stronger then I think and I am a fighter. No I'm a warrior. And though the giant has thought he has defeated me for good several times I will not quit, I will not give up, I will have the victory.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Finding My Song

I had a couple paragraphs written out, thought I was finally getting what I needed to write out. I was wrong. I was writing, yes, even had it flowing and sounding pretty but I don't need this post to be pretty or the words to flow and say what I think whoever may read this would want to read. I just need to be honest. I just need to have my many grammatical errors and my hillbilly talk. I just need to find my song and that's what I'm going to try to do.

 The previous paragraph has been sitting in draft form for a long  time and to be honest I'm still not sure how or what to write but let's see what song I can come up with. I'm going to start by sharing some lyrics for a song that I recommend you look up and listen to, titled Scars by I Am They:

Darkest water and deepest pain
I wouldn't trade it for anything
Cause my brokenness brought me to You
And these wounds are a story You'll use

So I'm thankful for the scars
'Cause without them I wouldn't know Your heart
And I know they'll always tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful for the scars

Now I'm standing in confidence
With the strength of Your faithfulness
And I'm not who I was before
No, I don't have to fear anymore...

Physical scars are easier to get over, they heal and all you have is the scar to remind you of whatever happened to cause the scar (generally, physically scars can hurt too). Emotional scars, those can be very painful scars that can take a very long time to heal from - but you can heal from them - will it be easy each time, possibly not but there is healing. May I be a small voice of reasoning in case those emotional scars have caused the lies of you will not be this, you don't deserve happiness, this is your fault, etc of lies that are swirling in your mind. Every single one of those are lies, you are worthy, you deserve happiness and you will be happy, and a lot of times we are carrying loads that were never, ever ours to carry. If you are carrying one of those loads may I encourage you to lay it down, you've carried it long enough. If you can't lay it down right away please find someone to help you lay it down or at the very least help you carry it until you can lay it down. See that voice doesn't want you to hear your true song.

Last night as I was driving home I was listening to a song, I didn't know all of the lyrics to it but the ones I knew I would sing out (not really sing - be glad to never hear me sing, it's more of a noise!). It got me thinking. See I've been struggling with some fears that stem from some emotional scars and baggage that I have carried. I'll tell you three of them: scared beyond measure that things were going to happen and some people would leave and not be in my life anymore, that there was no way people could see me as their family or even why would they want  me to be a part of their lives, and that I didn't deserve that and those people. LIE, LIE and another big old LIE. As I was listening to this song last night and I only knew parts of the lyrics I thought it's kind of like our own songs if you will. So often life gives us songs that were never meant to be on our playlists and we believe they have to stay and we even start to believe the lyrics that spew out nothing but lies of who we are. There are some parts of the emotional scars that are easy to beat and some they have cut so deep that it can be a little more tricky but you just keep playing the song of who you really are. All of our songs are different but put together they make one awesome playlist. See my song had been playing those lies I had mentioned plus a few more and it was so loud that's all I could hear, it was like when you play a CD and it skips, mine was skipping right over the lines of the truth. But something happened and I remembered this isn't all of the song so I cleaned up the CD if you will and tried playing it again. In real life wanna know what I did? I just so happened to be reading over some old messages that someone sent me and I realized one just how much they have put with me but also how much that they have encouraged me and help me carry the load and have helped me to sit it down and I also realized they really do see me as a part of their family and they don't mind that I see them as my family and to steal a line God knits people in your life cause He's a fantastic author and knows who you need (took me a long time to get that and more so to get that I am deserving to have those kinds of people in my life and to accept the love they have to give).

Hopefully in conclusion I just want to say that when your song is playing and it tries to play the old version and tell the lies and fears and whatnot may you and I both remember that those things that caused the scars are just a line in the song it's not the whole song. No matter how many times you have to replay it and no matter how loud you have to play it - sing those lines and verses of the truth of who you really are and you sing them loud because you deserve to be heard. You have a beautiful song and don't let anyone try to tell you that it doesn't deserve to be heard or played. And on those moments when you can't quite hear the lyrics of the truth or you just don't think you'll make I encourage you to go to someone you trust and let them help you (and if you are like me trust and know that God is there and will work it out - even though it isn't always easy to remember that, it is true) Because fear is a liar and you my friend are an overcomer and you know what I am too. I think we need to turn up our song and let some people hear it, what do you say?

Monday, February 26, 2018

Deep Waters

In my car I have certain radio stations preset so I can get to them quickly - some days I just can't find a song and so I either hit the skip button, try my luck with a CD, or just give up and turn the radio off. That one is a last ditch effort cause I like to listen to music. It's nice to have a soundtrack to go with the random thoughts.
The other day I noticed that one of the stations I had preset wasn't the same station anymore, it was completely different so I had to do some resetting and I'm still not quite used to the change.

One more pointless thing to know about me and I will get to my point but while I'm working I will listen to Pandora (I have to work from home so my only interaction with talking to people is via email and occasionally sending a text to a friend...or two.) It seems that I hear the same songs every day, no real change and some days you hear the same song multiple times in the same day.

Where am I going with this? I am so glad you asked. I have no idea! No, I have a general idea but I have been struggling with being able to write anything at all so I'm trying to just ignore the not so nice thoughts and just write. Which is actually a good lead into what I am hoping to say, or what I think I am trying to say. Recently at my church they had a thing called Brunch with the Broken and there was three people that gave their testimonies and it was a way to help people know that they aren't alone and no matter how broken you're never to broken. And someone said sometimes we all need to know that we're not alone in whatever we're facing. I very much 100% agree with that, it's something that I am quite passionate about actually I just haven't figured out what to do with that to further help others. And I thought how often do we really stand by that though - I don't think I do a good job at it some days. I may be wrong but I think we would be surprised at just what the person we sit next to in the pew, on the bus, or a very dear friend may be going through and we have no idea. I also think we would be surprised at how much it would truly mean to really ask how someone is doing, send them a funny meme, send a hey how are you text or send a letter saying how much that person means to you maybe even ask hey do you want to go grab a cup of coffee or something. But getting a bit ahead of myself. We all have bad days, we all have fears and doubts that we thought we had conquered that try to come back for another round of fighting, we all are stories. We all have been broken but we're not garbage. I have those radio stations set on my preset on my radio in my car. I had got used to which station went with which button until recently I had to change it. Sometimes life is like that be it things against our control or sometimes we finally have a moment of this is not where I'm supposed to be I need to move forward so we have to do some changing of the preset buttons. Sometimes we have to change some of those negative thoughts we have been told by ourselves or others about ourselves that isn't true, some of them are fears and doubts, even not being able to trust others or let others in. Changing them is sometimes easy but remembering them isn't always easy. It was easy for me to change that one button to be a preset for another radio station - remembering that it's now 98.1 instead of 101.5 has proven to be a bit more trickier and difficult to get to used. And just like some days Pandora plays the same songs and I get tired of hearing them. And some days I just can't find a song I want to listen to.

What I'm trying to say is don't be afraid to change the preset, you're not a failure because you messed up. You're not forever broken because you had a moment of an old lie, fear or doubt paralyzing you and causing you to hide or to be afraid that someone in your life is going to leave. You just forgot that the preset was changed and the same old song played before you could remember that this preset button is how important you are, that it reminds you that you have overcome, that you are moving forward. Some days are just plain difficult, not every day will be perfect but don't let that make you stop or try to reset the preset to those old lies because the station that you are playing now, that's the song you have always supposed to have been playing. I mentioned about the same songs being played and some days it just gets really old there are some days that I could listen to the same song on repeat for several times. I am learning I have to be careful which song I listen to - I'm not talking about a real song on Pandora - but my songs, those that help me remember who I am, that I am an overcomer, that I am moving forward and just that joyful song that is some days still afraid to play or be heard but little by little note by note it is being played and one day it will be played in full and at a very loud volume so many others will hear it and that will be amazing. I'm calling it now there will be laughter, tears and both at the same time. Some days those old nagging songs like to try to play again. Those lies of you can't let anyone in they'll just leave, you're a bother, you don't matter, you're to quiet to ever make a difference, you'll never write that book, etc. Some days I won't lie I leave it on that station for to long be it because that is what I have known for so long or sometimes I think I am afraid to change the station, what if it's even worse than this one. Don't be afraid to change the station. Don't ever be afraid to sing another song because to many of us for way to long have been singing and listening to the wrong song. When we find our song though - it's a beautiful and amazing thing.

One last thought if you don't mind. It has rained a lot in Kentucky. To the point of I bet if anyone is named Noah and they live here someone has at least once asked them if they got the Ark built yet because we gonna need. This past Saturday shockingly it was raining and I am on my way to somewhere and decide I think if I can hurry I will have enough time to stop at McDonald's and not be late to where I was heading. I pull in and I know I am parking in a puddle - at this point it's a miracle to not find or see a puddle. I step out of my vehicle and I say whoa that's cold and I look down and realize the puddle is a bit deeper than I thought it was. This isn't where I have a well that's just great my day is ruined moment, quite the opposite actually because I love splashing puddles so that was my excuse to go ahead and not worry how much I stomped and splashed while walking through the puddle. Go in get my food and am back to my car when I am standing in the puddle right next to the door and look down and realize the puddle is deeper, as in probably three quarters of my shoe is under water while I am standing there. In those few seconds the thought of deep waters came to mind quickly followed by yup that is still cold. As I am driving I am still thinking about deep waters and how sometimes we will be going through something and it doesn't seem that bad until we take one step and realize oh no this is deeper water than I thought or even realized. Sometimes we aren't prepared for those deep waters and some times we think we won't survive them. But you can and you will I'm not going to say it will be easy or fun. You may be left with some really wet and smelly socks and shoes! But you got this and please just in case anyone reading this is like me, please don't be afraid to reach out to someone be it a hotline specifically for what you are going through, an online friend or someone you see and know in your personal life. And if you are one of those people that someone reaches out to please don't brush their feelings aside sometimes I think we all get in to big of a hurry and don't want to take an extra minute to show that person that we meant it when we said we would help them whether that is listening or helping them find other needed resources or just going and doing something together to get away from the screen that we hold in our hand. Sometimes it may call for some hard truth and some tough love also and that's okay because whether we see it at the time or not it's still showing that the person is there for us and that they do love us. I know people have lives and we can't always depend on others but don't be afraid to be there for others and don't be afraid to let others help you. I always say we never meet anyone by accident and I believe God places people in our lives and sometimes those people are used to remind us that God is always there - always and sometimes God uses those people to remind us that it's okay to let people in and it's to let God in too.

I almost forgot and I think this will be a good thing to use to end this. I said when I stepped in the puddle I thought about deep waters but brushed it off as i silly thought until later when I just so happened to see a verse.

When you go through deep waters,  I will be with you. 
When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,  you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
Isaiah 43:2

Monday, January 29, 2018

Don't Look Back

Stepping stones. Seeds. Looking back. Moving forward.

I know that makes absolutely no sense and it probably won't if you keep reading but let me try to make it make a little more sense.

I guess let's start with the looking back first. I'm not sure how long back it has been but the other day (more like months if not years), I was at the drag strip in a bordering county. Now I obviously don't even remember when it was but there is one thing that has stuck with me and comes back every so often about that particular day at the races. There was this driver and when he and his competitor took off down the strip this driver kept looking back - in fact he looked back more than he did forward. He had his torso and head turned back to see where the other driver was and again stayed like this well over three quarters of the way down the track. Can I be honest, it irritated me. He spent so much time looking back to see where his opponent was that he wasn't focused on where he was going and you know he wasn't giving it his all, meaning to or not, noticing it or not he couldn't have been giving it the gas and acceleration he needed to win or to make the progress that he had the potential to make.

Not done with that thought just yet but moving on to the seeds. I recently went into a craft store by myself (never in the history of ever should I ever be allowed in a craft store or bookstore by myself). I went specifically looking for one thing but I didn't know where this one thing was and instead of doing the smart thing and finding someone to ask, I just walked up and down some aisles (y'all I ain't even playing at just how shy and not good at talking with people I am). I'm not sure why I told you that because the thought I am about to write about actually just came to me today and has nothing to do with that - but if you didn't know before now you know I can't be a responsible adult in the craft or bookstore.

You know that game where you have an item and will put your hands behind your back switching the item from hand to hand and then you reveal your hands and ask the person which hand it is in. I think sometimes in life we have seeds. One hand has seeds of lies, fears and doubts that we are going to have to deal with in life and the other hand has the seeds of who we really are, our worth and potential and our dreams. We may plant the seeds from both hands in different pots or perhaps we planted the seeds from one hand - not knowing which seeds they were and decided to hold on to the seeds that were in the other hand. We're going to use this scenario although sometimes I think we plant the seeds in both hands and spend to much time cultivating the seeds of the fears and lies and doubts not realizing it is all those things until those are flourishing and we have for to long neglected the seeds of our worth and such. But let's just say we planted the seeds from one hand and decided to hold on to the other ones. These seeds thrived and grew quickly only over the years of certain circumstances we discover these are the seeds of fears, lies and doubts. I think sometimes we even forget we have the seeds in the other hand, maybe some seeds get knocked out and sometimes we just have a death grip on those seeds and won't open our hands to see if they are still there or to plant them if they are there. What if they are bad seeds? What if they are good seeds? Which is scarier? Can I be honest, I think sometimes it can be scary to see our true worth and what we can do. In part I suppose cause those fears feed the it won't last, that's not who you really are, people will never see you like that (in reality many around us see our worth far greater and sooner than we sometimes can). I think the fears and such can make us think those seeds will never survive or thrive that it may even take a lot of work - and it really will especially if those fears, lies and doubts have grown some serious roots they will try to destroy and make you forget to take care of those seeds of your worth and the truth of who you really are.

Again, not exactly done but let's move on to stepping stones. We all have different bridges to cross and those bridges are made out of different materials and are at varying heights depending on whatever the situation may be. I, for whatever reason, keep picturing a body of water like a creek with stepping stones going across it and that is the only way to get to the other side. It doesn't always necessarily look dangerous or doom and gloom, sometimes it's just a picture in my head of a calm creek with stepping stones to get you across to the other side. I'm not sure which is worse for it to look safe or for it to look dangerous. If it looks safe one would think that would make it easier to cross but again to be honest for me sometimes that makes it more difficult and that's because I stand on the side so long and I think of and up scenarios that aren't even really plausible but it's enough to make me hesitate on even taking the first step. I have recurring dreams of bridges collapsing while I am on them, all of them made out of different materials and all at varying heights. But I think what is more scarier is to just stand on one side and never, ever even take the first step. Perhaps you can see on the other side all of what you have ever dreamed of (now this isn't the grass is greener on the other side scenario - it's a you need to move forward because you have been in the midst of the fears, lies and doubts for to long. And you are on the side that you was never meant to be on and definitely not for this long, you have got so much you were meant to do than stand on this side that you are on.)

Moving forward. I recently saw a post that dealt with a similar situation that happened to me growing up and I realized just how far I have made it. Am I where I need to be? No because I also had to fight some fears and lies just this past weekend. But I am moving forward - at a snails pace some days but I am moving. I saw a quote recently that stated something along the lines of you can't stay in survival mode and thrive, you were meant for more, new habits new life. And even with those fears that hit me (and man did they hit me hard and out of no where) I realized how much and often I go into my own version of survival mode - those old habits that I would do to try to protect myself. That's not good. So I try to remember some advice and things I have learned over the past couple or so years to help me better deal when these situations show up - as they will. It's never going to be an easy ride - never will I ever write or say anything to promise or tell you that. Just ain't how this life is - but having the right people and having safer and better habits or coping mechanisms helps when those not easy days hits.

Here's where I sum up what I just said in a couple of sentences and where you should by now know just to skip here (but why would you want to miss out on the ramblings? haha!). We can't spend more time looking back at who is behind us or how close they are or even trying to figure out just how far we have made it. It only slows us down and prevents us seeing the amazing view ahead - I don't know about you but there's a lot behind me that I don't want to see (it's not all bad and I like to glance back at the good times every so often - nothing wrong with that - just that I don't recommend spending the majority of your race or life looking back). Don't be afraid to plant, cultivate or take care of those seeds that show your worth, will help your dreams come true or even let you be able to help others - and don't be afraid to let other people in to help you. If you're like me that is one of the scariest things ever but it's okay to let people in. It's a little less lonely, lot more vulnerable but it's better - so much better. And can I just say this you know how there is this thing about talking to your plants and stuff - this is so random -- but if you find yourself in the position the help someone else out or maybe your are the one needing it - never underestimate what one or two simple words can do. I'm not a big talker and I sure can't talk loud. Now I am only writing this from the receiving end point of view but I think we put to much emphasis on how many words are said --oh I'm not a big talker I can't say more than 3 words I won't say anything at all. I've been around people that have talked for hours on end and left feeling more down and depressed and lonely than ever. I have been around someone that has said I was just thinking of you how are you...or just wanted to let you know I am here for you...or thank you for being in my life, etc. If you want to say more by all means do but if you only say it in a few that's great too. Look I went to rambling again....

Don't spend more time looking back then you do looking forward. Don't be afraid to plant those seeds and let the real you bloom because you are worth it, you have got some amazing dreams to fulfill and don't be afraid to take that first step because it's time to move forward and fly baby fly.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Keep On Flying

Awhile back I saw a picture of these two eagles flying. Except one of the eagles had snuck underneath the other eagle and grabbed hold of the fish that eagle had caught. To make this a little easier let's name these eagles. Ralph will  be the one trying to steal the fish and Sam is the one that caught the fish fair and square. Now both had a death grip on this fish. Ralph is upside down hanging on trying to wrestle this fish away from Sam. Who would win? Will Ralph pull and tug and just wear Sam down to where he finally loses grip of the fish? Or will Sam, perhaps, in the last moment just when all hope seems gone he will keep his grip on the fish and finally shake Ralph away?

I have no idea who won the battle between Ralph and Sam but it did prove to be an unusual visual for me. See I imagine Sam flying and perhaps waiting a long time and working hard to get that fish. As he is flying along he is thinking how good it will be to have a belly full of this scrumptious fish. When suddenly he feels a jerk from underneath. What is this? Oh no, it's Ralph,that sneaky eagle from across the way that always tries to steal Sam's food because Ralph isn't a good hunter or maybe he just wants to destroy and rob Sam.

Sometimes things happen in life that try to be like Ralph and try to come and steal our peace, joy, our hope or something else. Perhaps we have been like Sam and have waited a long time for a promise to be fulfilled, or we're finally moving forward from some obstacles that have hindered us for a long time. Maybe we have been fighting this for so long and we are so hungry and so excited and thankful for catching that fish if you will and so we are flying back to enjoy this moment and gain some strength back. When suddenly we feel that jerk come from underneath us, the rug has been pulled right out from underneath us and we feel like we are going to fall and lose our fish and any progress we may have made. These moments can be attacks  personally against us or sometimes it can be watching or knowing someone you care about is going through something and you don't know what to do to help and you just feel so helpless. Either way, the enemy has snuck in and got a grasp on that hope, joy,  love or faith that you picked up and he wants to take it back away from you. In those moments when I have to fight yet again for some of these things I will be honest sometimes I just want to let the "fish" go. I just am tired of fighting. I feel like is there even a point, will there be enough of the "fish" left to eat and gain any strength and get any nutrients from. But then I remember how hard and long I waited to get this hope, joy, peace, etc and I am not going to let go of it that easy. And you know what sometimes I need help making sure I don't lose this fish to my enemy.

Bit of a vulnerable moment but I recently was flying along when suddenly I got hit pretty hard with depression. I tried to hide it, tried to even fight it on my own but I was fighting a losing battle and quickly losing my grip on what hope and strength I had. I am fortunate enough to have a couple of people that won't let me hide and they help me in so very many ways. This time was no different. They each in their own way reminded me and helped me to be able to grab a hold just a little tighter to the truth. Now I am flying a little better and have managed to get a much better grip on my faith. I have been reminded once again that I don't have to fight these battles by myself. See I believe God places people in our lives for a reason and if you're really fortunate you get those people that will stick with you and love you when you aren't very lovable and they remind you of who you are and help you find those things that you can lose when you try to fight a battle for to long on your own. I thank God for those people that will help you fight those battles or just every now and then remind you they are there and care for you. I am thankful that even on the worst days God still lives me and doesn't get frustrated and forsakes me but instead proves just how much He cares - do I always easily see it - no - but I know it to be true and I will stand on that until the day I die.

One last thought. The weather can be so messed up. For example today it was in the 60's and by this weekend we could have a winter storm with snow, ice and cold temperatures. As I was walking to my vehicle this evening I thought wow this is nice makes me ready for spring and then I thought this almost feels like the calm before the storm. Did I stop thinking there? I think not! Is it just me or does it sometimes feel like just when you are about to let go of that fish you generally seem to get a break. That moment that reminds you why you can't give up, let's you catch your breath and get a little rest, or maybe it just reminds you that yeah it really sucks right now but hang on because it will not last forever. Today felt like that. I don't do well in the winter, it's just not an easy season for me. And just like how the rough days don't last forever, not saying they don't last longer than I would like sometimes, the warm weather today reminded me to just breathe and remember that even though a storm may be coming or perhaps you are in it now, the warm and better days will return. 

If you are going through something and you are losing your grip you most sincerely have my prayers and if you need to talk I will be happy to listen and at least let you know you aren't alone in this. So send an email, leave a comment, or if you read this and know me personally send a text or call anytime. I may not have the answers or know what to say but I never want anyone to feel they have to go it alone and I will sit with you until the storm passes. Keep on flying, the view will be worth it.

Lastly, I would just like to add a couple of verses.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Piece of Clay

I don't really know where to start so let's just jump and hope I remembered to put my cape on...on second thought let's just sit here awhile, yeah that seems like a better idea. *(read in your best movie narrator voice) - Weeks, days and hours later and we find the wannabe writer still standing and pacing in the same place we last left her. If we listen closely we may be able to understand some of what she is saying.*

I wonder how long I have been up here, I'm going to have to take off and fly one of these days I can't just stand up here forever. The view is getting kind of boring and I'm terrified of heights so my area of pacing gets shrunk dramatically....

I typed that in hopes that if I at least started typing it would break down that wall of fear and pride that has been hindering me from writing this post for honest to goodness weeks. I need 2017 to get its act together though, I mean it didn't have to wait for the last month to throw stuff at me to have me feeling a bit blah and overwhelmed - not cool, my friend, not cool at all. But I was recently told to discard the bad thoughts and focus on the good so I think I should listen. And by discard I am going to share what some of those thoughts have been teaching me and really try to make that epic nail biter shot with one second to spare as I make the winning shot throwing these lies and fears away for good.
I like to think this year found me put-putting right along making some decent progress (more on that at some point) until now that is. Now I feel stuck. I sometimes have these weird pains in my arms and legs and I describe it as it feels like little people are at each end of a limb and they are playing tug-o-war with my muscle now imagine this happening on both arms and both legs at the same time. I have no clue what causes it and I ain't about to Google it! One of these days I'll mention it again to my doctor but I mention that solely because whatever this little trial/test or season I am in now some days it feels like that pain in my limbs and like I am being stretched but I'm not growing it just feels painful and gets old (like how I feel way to often these days). You know I said I feel stuck and even unsure. Have you ever walked aross a swinging bridge or something that is shakey as you are walking across it and when you get across your legs are still shaking (if you are like me it could mostly be from nerves but there is a little bit to from your body is trying to adjust to not have to move to keep balance and such - that's my story anyway.) I recently read a story from Humans of New York and this woman's husband died suddenly and she was left alone and she was struggling so she researched what the best dog to get for grief and depression and poodle kept coming up so she went to adopt a poodle. On the day she went to adopt a dog there wasn't any poodles but there was an old dog in the back that no one was paying attention to. This dog was scared, fragile, skin and bones and the woman saw the dog that was in the back and seemingly forgotten and she adopted the dog and named her Grace. Now Grace has gained her weight back and the woman said she and Grace are getting better together. If you actually know me you know how much I love dogs (almost all animals) and how much I want a dog so I loved this story for many different reasons. You also know I can't read anything without getting some random things from it. Here are those things: In life sometimes when things are thrown at us we may try to do research and figure out what the best route is and think we have the best plan to get us unstuck or to help us fly but sometimes those plans don't work out and sometimes, possibly every time, it is the best thing ever that it doesn't work out. This woman thought a poodle would be best to help her heal but turns the friend she needed was a timid, fragile, forgotten dog hiding in the back. Now the other thing I thought of was how many people were there that day looking to rescue a dog and overlooked Grace thinking she would be to much work, she would never gain weight and would take so much time to get her where she wouldn't be afraid. How many people do we pass are like Grace? We overlook them, forget them, think they'll never change. I can relate to Grace because I was/am timid, backwards, even have often felt forgotten just hiding in the back and no one ever noticing me. Now can I point out what the woman said - she said they are getting better together. She helped nurture, feed and take time to be with Grace and in turn Grace learned she could trust this woman, this woman cared for her and now they are both helping heal wounds and scars they each had.  I spent a lot of time being timid and hidden and forgotten in the back but over the years I've met people that each in their own way has helped me take baby steps out of the corner, not be so timid, etc. In my weird, terrible way of trying to make a point we all have something we need help healing from (spiritual, physical, emotional, etc) and if we don't know anyone currently give it time cause when you think you going to get a poodle you're going to find a Grace and find out you all were meant to meet all along. I believe it is 1 Thessalonians 5:11 that states, therefore encourage one another and build each other up. Some of us just take some extra time and effort and for those that God places in our lives to help us well I for one am quite thankful and grateful for each of you, especially because I know I don't always make it easy. Sometimes I want to run back to the corner cause it feels like it will be safer there, sometimes the fears try to come that people are going to leave or some other scenario but I'll remember something someone said or something they did and it helps me see that the ones that have been there to help get me out of the corner are in my corner if you will. Sometimes I do need that reminder or reassurance or encouragement.  Y'all know I am big on the encouraging and lifting others up and you never meet anyone by accident and for no reason. So don't over look those of us that are or have been in the corner we have important roles to play too and can help make a difference. Sometimes, like we all do from time to time, we just need help finding and seeing that potential.

I'm not good at a lot but let me tell you I am great at panicking and getting overwhelmed! I say that half joking but it's all true. I have very vivid dreams and I recently had one that in part I was having one of those frustrated, overwhelmed moments. I knew I needed and was supposed to get to this particular place and no one seemed to know what I was talking about and things kept getting in my way preventing me from getting anywhere and I got frustrated. So dream me did like I do in real life and I had a moment of pacing and having my hands on my head thinking okay what am I missing, there is a way for me to get to this place, think April, breathe and think. Then in the dream I did figure out that there was a way to get to where I needed except there was two options - now if you know me personally you know my decision skills are like that of a squirrel in the middle of the road with a car coming and it's trying to figure out which way do I go, which way do I go. I don't know about the squirrel but I am always afraid I am going to pick the wrong choice and I remember in this dream it felt like this was a test, a riddle and it was very important I picked the right one (cause I really needed to get to this place). I actually didn't mean to go into all of that, I was just going to write a sentence or two to lead into potters and clay. Because I feel like a piece of clay, like a damaged, marred piece. There's a couple verses in Jeremiah chapter 18 (verses 3-4) that state: Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. The Potter and the Clay is one of my favorite go to parts of the bible. In one commentary I read on those verses it stated that the potter's vessel was marred and unsuitable for its intended purpose but the potter remolded it into an acceptable and unblemished piece of work. I sometimes have this fear that I am to marred and what can I do, I can't be made into a vessel that can be used to even be worth sitting on a mantle somewhere little alone serving a purpose. And sometimes I wonder do I have to many blemishes will the Potter (God) get tired of trying to mold me and just toss me away (He won't, I don't think it has ever even once crossed His mind to do so but fear and lies have had me think that but the truth is God will never leave nor forsake me). So this chapter and particularly those verses I previously wrote give me hope. It might not exactly be fun getting those blemishes taken out and having to get remolded but God sees the vessel I can and am supposed to be and when a blemish comes up He doesn't have a that's it I'm done moment but He remolds me and doesn't give up on me, like I sometimes so easily give up on myself and shall I be honest here, how I sometimes can easily give up on God. I have even had moments of asking God why - not why certain things are happening or have happened - instead why He is willing to take this blemished piece of clay and pick it back up when I have ran and tried to hide or tried to push God away, He is still there and picks me up and takes away those fears and lies that got stuck in this piece of clay and He puts me back on the wheel and starts remolding me. He's willing cause He loves me (and you). I'm still not sure what my intended purpose is and I think I am in a part where God is taking some blemishes out and putting me back on the wheel to remold me. I think if nothing else I am being taught trust - trusting in God and in others. But I do also think I have some kind of intended purpose of being here, what - well that's a fantastic question and one day hopefully I figure that out. I guess that's where I can also use the advice that mom and pop gave me which I have just combined and made it to be just relax, don't worry be happy (also a good example of why I say you always meet people for a reason and sometimes God places people in your life and they become more like family, in this case more like a mom and dad to me). I might be at the crossroad trying to figure out which one of those paths to take is the right one, I'm that piece of clay that got a few blemishes and is being remolded, I may catch myself pacing with my hands on my head trying not to freak out any worse than I currently am but I am not a useless forgotten piece of clay, nope far from it.

As much trouble as I have had writing this I am just going to end this with my usual year in review. I hope and like to think I have learned and grown and moved forward this year. This year I was very fortunate to get to mark off a lot of things off of my bucket list. I got to go to the Grand Canyon and see and ride on part of Route 66! I got to mark off 8 states that I hadn't been to before list and got to go to California and see some of Yosemite Park and so many amazingly awesome places all along that trip that I am forever grateful for the opportunity and will be a trip that I will always remember. I got to see the Blue Angels and go to an air show for the first time and that was awesome and well worth the sun burn I got and extra bonus I got to visit with a cousin that weekend that I hadn't seen in way to many years, that actually was my favorite part of the weekend. I got to hold a tiger cub which was so very cool. I got to meet and talk to Terri Clark and Suzy Bogguss which was really neat. I got to talk to my brother more than I ever have and it has been nice getting to know him - we've never met and the first time I ever talked to him was via email maybe six or seven years ago and that was only a couple of messages and we lost contact again until this year. I got to spend time with people who mean so very much to me. I faced some fears and ran and hid from others. I learned a lot about myself - some not so good stuff but some was good. I'm thankful that I have seen another year, that may I say went by really fast. I'm grateful for the opportunities and dreams that came true this year and I'm so very thankful for the people that was with me on all of the different journey's I had this year and those that stuck with me and encouraged me, helped me, picked me up when I fell or just sit with me on the bad days. Here's to keeping moving forward and flying the rest of the year right on into 2018 and throughout next year.