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I am one who is known to talk a lot, but there are things, believe it or not, that I keep to myself. Sometimes I don’t know what to say or how to say it. Sometimes I am afraid to speak and other times, I just feel silly or ashamed for how I feel. Sometimes I don’t want to burden anyone with what’s going on. Either way, after awhile, it becomes too much.

I am fighting for my son. Many know this, but no one really knows how all of this has been effecting me. My son begged me to keep fighting for him, so that’s what I am doing. However, it has not been easy for me. Mentally and physically, it has been wearing me down. Between the fights with his dad and step-mom, a Guardian ad Litem who won’t return my calls and still hasn’t met my son when she was supposed to do so months ago, playing endless phone tag with my lawyer, my son breaking down and ending up in a behavioral health center, and so on, I have been stretched thin.

This struggle has been going on for years, but now it is all coming to a head. We finally have a court date, I am hoping that I will get placement back. It was supposed to be temporary placement, but that was 12 years ago. It’s really about time that it be returned to me. My son has been asking for this for years and I got tired of waiting for his dad to give this a chance. I did the right thing 12 years ago, made the sacrifice for my son’s well being. It’s time that his dad do the same thing. It really bothers me that he hasn’t been willing to at least try it out, that there’s always been an excuse. Our son has told him over and over that he’s unhappy there, that he wants to come stay with my husband and I for school, but his dad dug his heels in and has refused to budge, not even willing to do it on a trial basis.

After a huge blow out fight, we said we were going to find a way to work together and that since we simply can’t agree on placement, that the court will decide and whatever the court decides, we’ll make peace with it and make it work for our son. Our son said he would accept the decision and do the hard work that’s ahead of him to straighten his life out, no matter where he is. I hope he means it. He is a smart young man, one with a lot of talent, that could do so much. As angry as I have been with his dad, the truth of it is, right now, a lot of what’s been going on rests on his shoulders. He is 15 and knows better than to pull the things he has. There is no excuse for not turning in homework, stealing, telling tales, saying hurtful things to others, and so on. Unhappy or not, he knows what is expected of him and do his best to follow the rules. He has such lofty goals, ones he won’t accomplish if he doesn’t straighten his life out.

It is infuriating, all of it. For nearly 16 years, it’s been one battle after another. I just want peace. I want to be done fighting with my son’s dad and step-mom. I want my son to behave, not be perfect, as perfect doesn’t exist, but to turn things around, to do better than he has been. I want him to do his school work and not a half assed job, but really putting effort in. I want him to respect his teachers, peers, parents, step parents, and just others in general. I want this all to work out. I am so tired of crying, all of the misunderstandings, pleading to be heard, being ignored, not being fully included in on everything that goes on with my son, and the list goes on. My heart has been put through the wringer and I just want things to work out.

I am also dealing with grief that I haven’t been able to fully process. My grandma died at the end of January this year. She was my last living grandparent. I knew that I would take hers the hardest out of the four, as she was the one I was the closest to. I barely knew my dad’s parents, especially my grandpa, as I had only met my dad and his family when I was 10 and was 14 when he died. I hadn’t gotten to spend much time with him at all. The hardest part about losing him was regret from barely knowing him. Even though my one grandma lived for years after he died, I didn’t know her very well either. We spoke here and there, but I wasn’t really close to her. It really hurt when she died, but again, mostly out of regret from not knowing her as well as I should have. I did end up honoring her memory though, by naming my daughter partly after her. My mom’s dad and I used to be close, until I was about 11 and then things started going downhill. I was sad when he died, but it was mostly from missing what we’d had when I was a kid. My mom’s mom was a completely different story. She become a second mother to me when I was 17. She was someone I grew really close to. As a little kid, I was closer to Grandpa, but throughout my later teen years and adult life, it was her I’d grown super attached to.

My grandma took me in, more than once, when I needed somewhere to go. She let me live with her rent free, helped pay for my expenses many times, and yet still spoiled me by buying me and later my son random things because she knew we’d enjoy them. She let me use her car over and over when mine fell apart. She did so much more than all of that though. She listened to me countless times, whenever my son’s dad and I were fighting, when I would beg to see my son, when I was angry with my mom, upset with my dad, depressed, needed advice, or just wanted someone to talk to. We had so many inside jokes and often made up silly stories just because. I could confide in her anytime, about anything. I miss her, even watching QVC for hours with her. I miss her voice. I miss seeing her. And I feel so unbearably guilty for not being there more in the end. For so long, as she was aging and we could all see it, I took care of her. On my own, I took care of her, her home, her bills, and made sure everything was alright. After awhile, it got to be too much and we got help, only my grandma wasn’t happy about it. So, even after I moved out, I still went there daily to check in on her and be there for her. Eventually my uncle moved in and my role as caretaker ended. After that, I saw her less and less. At the end, I had barely seen or talked to her. I did try to call many times, but no one ever called back, not her or my uncle, but I feel like I could have tried harder. Knowing she was spending her last days in her room, barely doing anything, couldn’t even read anymore, it is a lot for me to handle. After all she did for me, I feel like I should have done more….

A little over two years ago, my friend Aimee died. That still hurts a lot, far worse than most deaths I have dealt with have. Only one hurts worse, my grandma. Aimee was my best friend for so long. The last few years she was alive, we weren’t as close, but we were still connected. She sang at my wedding three years ago, which still means so much to me. She never did meet my daughter though. She was in the hospital when my little girl was born and only immediate family was allowed to go see her. She had been in a coma, after surgery didn’t go well, was that way for awhile and then finally, she made it out of that and was recovering. Then one morning, I wake and look on Facebook, as usual, only to find out she’d died. No one saw it coming. She used to joke that she’d be lucky to make it to 30. She had a lot of health problems and had made many questionable choices, but somehow she made it through all of that. Then one day, she was gone. Some days, I forget she’s gone, sometimes I want to call her and then I remember. She touched my life in many ways. She inspired my writing, my music, and so much more. She helped me feel good about myself. She encouraged me, believed in me, and despite our issues here and there, was such a great friend. I miss her more than I can say. Some days are really hard, but I can only imagine how her family feels. She is missed so much….

I feel frustrated. I am trying so hard to build my business and some days, it feels like things are going well. I booked several weddings, events, family sessions, and more this year. I just got my business accredited by the BBB. Little by little, I am getting my name out there and it feels great. My clients are amazing and I love what I do. Capturing precious moments and then turning them into forever memories for others is a gift. Sometimes though, others make me feel awful. Now and then, I get a crazy client who tries to pull some shady stunt or another photographer trying to undermine me or steal my clients. I know it’s all a part of running your own business, but sometimes it can be difficult. I am making more than I thought I would be, but still not nearly enough to really feel like I am providing for my family. I know I am still growing my business and have a lot of learning to do, so I am trying to be more patient. Some days it can be difficult to keep perspective and stay positive.

Sometimes I feel like I am not good enough for my spouse or his family. Sometimes I feel like his family judges me. Sometimes I feel like he could have done better. I know I am a lot to handle and am thankful every day that he is by my side, that he loves me. He loves us, what we have, as a couple and a family. He is so good to my son and has sure put up with a lot. That man has so much patience and I am definitely one who requires a lot. I know I bring a lot to our relationship, that this is a two way thing. Some days I do feel like I am good for him. I keep him organized, on time, am the calendar, make him laugh and smile, help him raise our daughter, get him to eat better, and so on. I just come with so much baggage and sometimes I feel like it’s a bit much. No one has ever been outright mean to me, but sometimes the way some look at me or make me feel, I feel like maybe they wished he’d picked someone else. Paranoia set in, maybe, but either way, I hate how I feel sometimes. Sometimes I feel like he deserves more than I give, more than I am. I struggle with insecurities almost daily. I know many do, as we often our own worst critics. I am trying so hard to be kinder to myself. I am a work in progress.

I needed to get this all out, sometimes keeping things to myself or even partly to myself can be draining. I hope that anyone reading this got something from it. Maybe you’re in my shoes with parts of this, maybe you are grieving, feeling less than, or fighting for your child’s well being. Maybe you’re not in any of those situations, but are struggling in your own way. Whatever the case may be, I hope you find whatever you’re looking for, your peace, sense of worth, purpose, or some inspiration. I hope that you got something from this, that is why I share my thoughts, poetry, photography, feelings, and more. I share it so that those reading this will learn more about me, get inspired, leave comments, want to know more, become a friend, share words to inspire me, and to just connect. On that note, I wish you all a very good night, weekend, and here’s to our amazing community of artists. We write, draw, make music, and more. We create and share it with others. I love it here. Thank you for making me feel like a part of something.

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Some think the only or best way to help is by giving money to causes, people in need, etc. I have learned something over the years, money can do a lot of good and I would never discourage anyone from giving to worthy causes or helping out someone who is truly in need, BUT there are more ways to help.

Sometimes people aren’t in a position to help financially and feel like there’s nothing they can do. However, we can give our time, energy, and effort to others by volunteering, teaching, mentoring, tutoring, helping people by giving of your services like babysitting, cooking a meal for someone who just had surgery, helping someone move, etc.

Going through our things and giving what we don’t need or no longer use to others who could use it often helps people as well. How many of us have things in storage, stuffed in the back of our closets or the garage, etc that we know we’ll never get around to using again or maybe just bought because it was on sale or thought it would be a good idea at the time and then never used at all? Some can donate blood, which is always in need. Some physically can’t give, but many can.

And let us not forget, sometimes all someone needs is someone to listen without passing judgement. Sometimes people don’t want or need anything of monetary value, they just need a friend to listen, give advice, a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to make them laugh. Sometimes people just need to be reminded how special and loved they are and that there is a reason to go on.

One or many of these things may not be doable, but don’t be discouraged. If you want to give back, pay it forward, or make a difference, there are always ways to do it.

Wordless

riddle me this

Thoughts jumble together

A mess hard to make sense of

Unable to stabilize

Open mouth, but no words come out

 

Being pulled in many directions

Everyone needs something

Scrambling to help them all

But unsure of how to help myself

 

Trying to get my feelings out

But not sure how to

I can’t find the words to express them

It’s not something I’m used to

 

Normally, the words fly freely

Like a bird upon a steady breeze

No matter how I feel, it is made known

But not today, today I just don’t know.

sunrise

Sometimes the past stays away for a long time and then unexpectedly knocks on the door, says hello, brings in their baggage, and wants to stay.

You hear a song, see something on TV, look at old pictures, find old things, have a conversation, read something, or have a dream that brings the memories of old to the surface. Though you’re living in the now, the past sometimes tugs at your sleeve, begging for your attention. Psst, don’t forget about me….

Sometimes our memories are pleasant, making us smile and laugh. Inside jokes, family gatherings, vacations, fun times with friends, your kid’s art projects and memorabilia collected throughout the years, something or someone that helped you grow and change for the better, firsts, buying your home, anniversaries of jobs, marriages, friendships, and so much more. While we should live for today, it’s okay to remember yesterday. It helped us become who we are today.

But sometimes, the memories and feelings they stir up are anything but pleasant. I had a moment like that this morning. Someone is celebrating their birthday tomorrow and dreads it each year, because they keep hoping their dad will acknowledge them and then is disappointed every time. I know this feeling. I share a birthday with my dad and he’s not once called, sent a letter, come to visit, asked me to visit, or done anything to wish me happy birthday. I’ve done so for him and every effort is ignored.

It’s hard to ignore the past when it’s part of your present. There’s still a part of me that longs for my dad’s love, effort to have a real relationship, and healing for all the pain over the years. Despite all he’s done, he’s my dad and I do love him. I think a part of him loves me, but sometimes I’m not really so sure.

I needed to lift myself out of the depression I felt trying to swallow me whole, but wasn’t sure how. I felt the tears coming and kept trying to stop them. I turn 40 this year and I still feel like a little girl begging my daddy to love me. How do I not dwell on this???

Some advice I gave this young person was though it’s easier said than done is to try to focus more on those who are there for them and less on those that aren’t. Advice can and is usually easier to give than take, but I knew I needed to try. I had just posted recently about moving forward, not staying in the past. I knew I owed it to myself and anyone I’ve given this advice to, to take it to heart myself.

A part of me does long for my dad’s love and attention, but if I dwell on that or anything else that I can’t control, I’ll be an emotional mess every day. I can’t control others or many situations, only myself and how I react to what happens. I may not have the affection I seek from him or many others, but I do get it from so many more. They show me love and it’s that love I should focus on, treasure, and give to them in return.

So, past and even present pain, I say this to you, you’re not welcome today. I will take your baggage for you, place it and you in an Uber, and send you on your way. You will not destroy me with your negativity, not today, no not today. I hope this helps even one of you who may be struggling this way yourself. May you know you are loved and use that as a light to get through to a good place. When the past hurts say hello, let us tell them goodbye.

moving_on

There’s a difference between letting the past guide us and living in it. Letting yesterday remind us of where we came from and showing us what to do and often times, not to do can be a good thing. But sometimes, we let the past consume us and forget to live for today and the days yet to come.

To see our potential, grow, and learn, we must move forward. It’s time to quit looking in the rearview mirror or else we might not see where we’re headed and crash. It can be easy to get lost in nostalgia or let the fear that the past stuck with us take over our minds, but it’s important not to forget the world keeps turning no matter what we do. We want to go along for the ride, don’t we? 😉

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A closed bulb that never bloomed shrinks in the darkness

Unable to find the light, feeling close to death

The time has gone by so swiftly

She thought she had more time….

 

Nearly 40 years have gone by

Quite likely she’s halfway through this life

This wasn’t the life she had planned

That’s what a voice whispers to her

 

She had big plans, many left unfulfilled

Dreams came and went over the years

Sitting all alone, wondering why

Why didn’t she do more, work harder?

 

The once brilliant violet hue is turning gray

But surely this isn’t how the story ends?

Can’t one still find a way while there’s still life within?

A troubled and discouaged soul asks the silent night air

 

Though inaudible to most, a tiny voice rings out in the night

There is time yet to get it right, if one decides to try

It’s only too late once you’re dead and dead you are not

The tiny voice has become loud enough for her heart to hear its words

 

You have a life, one so kindly given to you

Shall you continue to waste the precious time given to you?

Or perhaps, will you then open your eyes and move your limb so that you may finally break the curse

The one you set upon yourself, the one preventing you from truly living

 

But, I’m afraid, she replies quietly

I’ve messed up so many times, too many to count

I’ll likely just mess up once more, it’s a vicious cycle really

She hangs her graying head in doubt and sadness

 

Fear holds you back from what could be a wonderful life, my friend

The now booming voice calls out to her

Taking risks are a part of life, one that shouldn’t be ran away from

Instead, grab the bull by the horns and give it all you’ve got.

 

Sometimes you’ll fail, hear the word no, and lose too

But, you’ll also find strength, learn who you are, and find you’ll win sometimes as well

A life only half lived is sad and it’s such a waste of the precious gift of time given to you

Put away doubts, self pity, and fear today and embrace courage, hope, and the life the awaits you

 

Not totally convinced, but willing to try, if only to quiet the aching within

She lifts her head, dries her tears, and starts to stand

I’ll try, today yes, I will try to put fears and worries to rest

One day at a time, that’ll be all I can promise though

 

The voice replies, that’ll be all you or anyone can do

And when you do fall, don’t let it beat you or keep you down

Rise again, my beautiful and wonderful friend

Rise up, claim today as yours in Him, and see that while sometimes you lose, so do you also sometimes win.

 

 

Love Is…

 

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, one some look forward to and others dread. I have been on both sides of the fence on this. I’ve been the jaded skeptic that wanted to avoid the day and the in love romantic hoping to celebrate it.

Now, I’ve come to see it’s not just about couples, romantic dates, gifts, and high expectations. By all means, couples are encouraged to celebrate it if they wish. I do think love should be celebrated all year, not just when the calendar and the mountain of ads urging you to spend money tells you so. However, what is wrong with making Valentine’s Day one of those days?

Some are so anti Valentine’s Day, saying why should we make a big deal out of it when we shouldn’t limit celebrating love to one or two days a year. From that end, yes, we shouldn’t limit it to select dates. That doesn’t mean though that we should be anti love that day in protest. 😉

Love is amazing, for the many who feel it and like I eluded to before, not just for the couples surrounded by it. I no longer dissuade anyone from celebrating love, for many reasons. One of the reasons is the kids in our lives and all across the country. I don’t want to teach our kids to be jaded, skeptical, and wary when it comes to love.

Love is wonderful and so huge for kids, the way they feel about mom and dad, their siblings, nana and grandpa, friends, pets, favorite stuffed animal, dreams for the future, and so much around them. Shouldn’t we encourage them to love love and shower others with it the way we do? Live by example…

Love is great among true and loyal friends, a love that shouldn’t go unnoticed. They see us through dark times and cheer us on during the good, as we do for them. They give us so much love and I think it can be a nice way to show ours to remember them on February 14th. Yes, all year is best, but isn’t that part of the year? 😉

Love is incredible for parents, the bond we feel with our kids is generally quite solid, a connection like none other. I like to do cute things for my kids every year, a little something to show them just how special they are to me. I do random things throughout the year as well, but feel no shame in doing them on Valentine’s Day too.

Love is love, all year, from January 1st through December 31st, that includes February 14th – Valentine’s Day. I do think sometimes it gets over hyped, but overall I think it’s a harmless thing and actually something that can be good. It encourages spending money, yeah, but it also encourages showing those we love how much we care. It’s not necessary to spend a ton of money to shower our loved with the love we feel, but it’s not a bad thing if people want to.

For all the anti Valentine’s Day people out there, I get it, I’ve been there. I do urge you though to respect those who choose to celebrate and for those that do celebrate it, I urge you to respect the wishes of those that don’t. We can be on either side of the should we celebrate it or not and not make the other feel bad for feeling the way they do. For me, I won’t make a HUGE deal out of it, but I won’t ignore it either. To me, it’ll be another opportunity to show those I love how much they mean to me. Love is important to me, all year, tomorrow included. ❤

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