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Archive for January, 2017

The Four Letter Word

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Today’s topic is what many from where I live call the four letter word. I live in Wisconsin and if you’re from here or even visited, you know that one thing we’re known for is cold winters. They do call the city where our football team plays, The Frozen Tundra. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Some absolutely love winter, the cold, and snow. Some like to ski, snowboard, go sledding, ice skate, etc. Though, there are those of us who are not terribly fond of the white stuff. Shoveling, driving in it, and just looking at it after awhile gets old. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Snow is something I have grown accustomed to, as I have lived with white winters my entire life. My personal opinion of the cursed stuff is that it looks beautiful on tree branches and hey, one must have it on Christmas Day. However, I grow very tired of looking at it fairly quickly. I don’t like the snow, ice, slush, and cold weather. I don’t like the darker days. Snow, blech! I often joke around saying that I was born in the wrong state. Some would say to me, ” Why don’t you move?” Well, it’s not so simple to pack up your life and just leave. When your family, friends, and all you’ve ever known is here, it is difficult to truly imagine living anywhere else. I am a Wisconsinite, through the rain, sleet, and snow.

I do think it can be fun for many too and wouldn’t begrudge anyone for enjoying it. Watching kids build snow forts, have snowball fights, make snow angels and snowmen, and just enjoy the wintry days is refreshing. I know too that there’s a place for everything. The earth needs its time to rest and rejuvenate, so then when spring comes, we’re ready for rebirth and renewal. We may complain about the snow and cold in the meantime though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Since I do live here and endure it every winter, I do try to make the best of it. I look out the window when snow is gently falling and find beauty in it. I like to watch the few creatures who brave our cold beauty frolic in the snow. I do look forward to taking my young daughter sledding and building our snow masterpieces. There’s fun to be had and beauty within it, if we take the time to see it. Even if snow isn’t your cup of tea and you prefer warmer weather, try to see snow’s place in the world around us and appreciate it for the good it brings.

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Family Dynamics & How to Survive

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I told myself today that I need to write more. I used to write a lot. Writing has been a form of expression and solace for me since fifth grade. Usually when I was at my lowest, if I turned to writing, I was able to start healing. Between writing and music, I have found a cheaper way to vent and mend than therapy. I am highly disappointed in myself for not turning to writing more in the recent past. I need to challenge my writing skills and need to bring more creativity into my life.

I asked my Facebook family to give me ideas today so that I may begin writing once again, as I felt a block when it came to what to write about. Also, what better way to find out what people would want to read about than to ask the very people you’re trying to reach out to. Two of my friends responded. One wants me to write about encouragement, faith, hope, love, and the like and the other wants me to write about family. I am going to do my best to write about both. Let’s see how this develops.

My experiences with family have been all over the board. Growing up, I saw most came from the stereotypical perfect family: Mom, Dad, a couple of kids, and maybe a pet or two. For me though, it was my mom and I for so long. Enter in a boyfriend now and then, but most of my childhood it was just us. I met my dad when I was 10. Then, I found out I have a step-mom and three younger siblings. At 13, nearly 14, I was put into foster care and learned about yet another family dynamic. I have come to learn that families come in all shapes and sizes. There isn’t a perfect type of family. I have also learned that no matter how happy a family may seem, there’s always struggles. You may see happy faces on the walls smiling at you, but there’s often sorrow, strife, hurt, and more behind those happy faces.

Family should be close knit, bound by blood first, but by love even more. Even when it is, it will face issues over the years. I have felt love and loathing within my family. I have known kindness and treachery. Sometimes the ones that hurt us the most are those we’re related to and sometimes the ones we’re closest to are our friends, who form yet another family dynamic. Not all families are bound by blood. When asked what a family is, I don’t have a concrete answer. I will tell you what I think a family should be though.

A family, whether bound by blood or not, should encourage one another. A family should lift its members up and not tear one another down. A family should have faith in one another, feeling in their souls the love and loyalty from one another. A family should not dictate who is worthy of love and instead if they see a member struggling or going down a path they ought not, reach out and try to help. Sometimes people can’t or simply don’t want to be helped and sometimes you need to distance yourself from another, but to outright turn your back on one without even trying to understand, without trying to be there just seems wrong to me. I have had family members turn their backs on me and on others simply because of the mistakes we made and deeming us unworthy of their love, help, and support. I think that is why it is hard for me to walk away from anyone, family or otherwise. I know how it feels to have people turn their backs on me and it hurts, so I try with all I have to be there for others. Families are not and should never be expected to be perfect. We all, as individuals and groups, fall and make mistakes. It should then be our desire, when one falls, is to help one another back up. I have, perhaps too grand, big ideas of what family should be, but I don’t believe any of it is unobtainable, not when people are committed to working together. No one should let any of the weight fall on one or a few members, but let it be upon us all.

How to survive family life may sound easy to some and extremely difficult to others. For while family should be a force that bands together, sadly, it’s often not. Sometimes we tear one another down and make life extremely difficult for ourselves and those around us. Some do stick together and make family look like something amazing. But having known some of these wonderful families, I see that they too need to work to make their relationships with one another work. Any relationship needs to be worked on. If ever we feel that we’re at a good place and stop, then it will begin to fall apart. We need to keep at it. Marriages, friendships, working relationships, family ties, and the like all require work, effort, time, respect, communication, and loyalty. For me, I have found that I survive my various family dynamics by knowing every individual is just that, an individual. Every one of them is different and I can’t treat each person the same. But, I do try to give each person in my life respect, loyalty, kindness, and love. I also try to communicate, to keep in touch, to let them know when there needs to be something worked on, and when I am very happy by how things are going as well. We face issues, but I try to face them head on and together. If we try to fight through our struggles alone, how can they be fixed? One sided effort fails, but when people come together, so much is possible.

Family isn’t perfect, life is far from it even more so. But, united we stand and divided we fall. My goal is to keep working on the bonds I have formed and to form even more. I plan to never stop working on my relationships, but also plan to get better at knowing when to walk away from something, knowing when to keep trying and when enough is enough. I am far from as wise as I can possibly be, but I feel I can let the wisdom I have gained in 38 years guide me and to help me learn more, about myself and those around me. I hope to grow my faith, both in God and in others. I hope to learn how to encourage others more and learn to accept it from others better as well. Family can show us so much, if we’re willing to see it and learn from one another. We all have our ugly sides, but together we can open our eyes to the beautiful ones as well.

All or Nothing

purple-butterfly

The screen goes black

How did it come to this?

When exactly did we get off track?

No more living in a state of ignorant bliss

 

Eyes wide open, senses on full alert

Wishing to dull the feelings within

To find a way to quiet all of the hurt

But it’s team floodgates for the win

 

One can’t pick and choose which emotions to feel

Wouldn’t it be grand to be able to feel only some things?

And to decide how quickly we can heal?

Why must it be for me all or nothing?

 

I’d like to quiet the anger, unrest, fear, & sorrow

Let only the joy, hopefulness, and love reign

What a happy place my mind would be on the morrow

If I could just let the ill feelings an illness feign

 

But that is not how it is meant to be for us

Every tear and laugh help our hearts be free

For though we may wish our minds never to fuss

I fear then that the beauty too would cease to be

Thoughts on Parenthood

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As we grow, we change, both outwardly and within as well. As babies, we need so much help. We can’t feed, dress, bathe, or clothe ourselves. We need help to get from place to place. Months go by and we’ve begun to learn. We’re rolling over, sitting up with support, and observing more of the environment around us. Then comes sitting on our own, crawling, picking things up, throwing things, learning to stand, and taking those first wobbly steps while clutching onto something. Eventually, we’re walking, climbing, and running. While all of this is going on, our bodies are changing and so are our minds.

Fast forward and now we’re talking, learning how to structure sentences as we speak, open things, match objects, count, recite the alphabet, and more. Off to school, and we learn so much more. As we grow and learn, we have been developing personalities of our own. We’re not just so and so’s kids, we’re truly our own souls. Many think kids can’t think for themselves, but sometimes I think they have a clearer and more level head on their shoulders than a lot of adults out there.

We, often times, don’t realize how complex and yet simple kids are until we’re adults and dealing with them ourselves. They’re fiery little people! Being a parent is both one of the greatest joys and most difficult things I have been given the chance to do. Some think that being a parent is all or mostly late night feedings, crying, disgusting diapers, tantrums, crayon on the walls, yelling, fighting, broken things, piles of laundry and dishes, and oh no more social life, at least one that doesn’t involve children. And others think that it’s laughter, cuddles, homemade projects, school plays and concerts, smiles, hugs, first steps, first words, braiding hair, playing catch, and love.

Parenthood is a mixture of some the greatest times in your life and some of the most difficult ones. It is late night feedings, tantrums, teenage angst, fighting, scolding, hurt feelings, and difficult times. There are days you will question your sanity, where you’ll wonder if you’re doing everything all wrong. You’ll cry in the car, lock yourself in the bathroom for a moment of peace, disagree with your partner (if you have one) on how to raise your kids time to time, panic, and overthink things. But, it is also seeing their smile and feeling so much joy, helping them unwrap their first Christmas presents, dressing them up for their school spring concert, seeing their face light up when they see you, hearing them tell you how much they love you, helping them get ready for a school dance, having fun play dates, cuddling on the couch, and the feeling of their hand in yours. You’ll smile when they bring you a handmade ornament from school, feel pride when they bring you a picture they drew just for you, (even if you don’t know what it is) laugh at the silly joke they made up, and feel more love than you ever knew was possible to feel.

When our kids grow into adults, that’s when we truly see our hard work put to the test. Did we give them tools they need to lead their own lives? Did they learn how to take care of themselves? Did we do enough? Did we do too much? What if they don’t need us anymore? What do we do now that we don’t have noses to wipe, cuts and scrapes to bandage, homework to help with, lessons to transport people to, nights to wait up, first and last days of school to anticipate, someone to read a bedtime story to, or get little snuggles from?

I am not quite to the point of having an adult child, but I do have a teenager. I also have a baby. They’re both in very different stages in life. I do often feel overwhelmed, but I also feel so very blessed. My children are the ones that inspire me daily to do and be more. I want to show them how to chase after their dreams, work hard, have fun, be good to others, and make the most of their lives by doing so myself. I don’t enjoy the fights, the attitude, messy diapers, waking in the middle of the night, or lack of time for me. However, I can’t imagine my life without the laughter, inside jokes, hugs, smiles, game nights, or feeling the love I feel for them or that they give to me return. That there is what makes it all worth it, the love. That, to me, is what life in and of itself is all about. Through every phase of our lives, it’s about the love within it, both giving and receiving. Life without love, to me, isn’t really living. My kids are the finest example of what unconditional love can do to and for someone.

I am blessed to have been able to watch them grow, learn, and become their own people. Parenthood isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. I don’t judge anyone who decides not to become parents, whether by having their own, adoption, fostering, being a step parent, etc. Some say it’s selfish if they decide not to continue their legacy, but I find it is more selfish to expect someone to have kids when that’s not what they want to do. Not all people are meant to be parents and sadly, many that are shouldn’t be. But, that’s for another blog or perhaps ones I have already written. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Today, I am just counting my blessings for being able to be a parent. I make mistakes, we all do. I second guess myself a lot. I don’t always make the wisest decisions or the ones others want me to make. But, I do the best I can and my kids both have what they need and so much love.

If you have kids and you’re able to, let them know you love them today. Even if they’re grown, moved away, with the other parent, in college, or whatever the case may be….e-mail, text, call, snap chat, Skype, etc makes communication much easier. No matter how old they are, they’re always our kids. Life is short and we don’t know when our last chance will be to show love, so if you have the chance to today, don’t waste it. I got off topic a bit, but I hope you enjoyed reading today. Have a wonderful Wednesday, may you be richly blessed!

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Happy New Year

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Another year is gone and a new one has began. A new chapter has started, it’s time to make these 365 pages, well 364 now, count. Things will happen that are out of our control and we’re bound to face loss, death, illness, and so on. But, that doesn’t mean we have to let the bad circumstances we find ourselves faced with bring us down. They say our lives are what we make of it, so I am trying to keep that in mind as I wake up each day. I am ready to face this new year head on, are you? ๐Ÿ™‚

No excuses, no blaming the past, no pointing the finger at someone else, and no giving up! Let’s see what we want to achieve and begin, one step at a time – Rome wasn’t built in a day they say, and make things happen. Want to publish a book, start a business, go back to school, move, get a new job, find love, make new friends, strengthen the relationships you already have, or maybe even just something like dye your hair and do something to feel better about yourself? Whatever it is you have in mind for 2017, you’re in the driver’s seat, so go on and make things happen! Now, I need to take my own advice! Happy New Year, friends! Let’s make this one great!

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