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No one, Nothing, Everything

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No one, nothing
No one but me, nothing
Nothing but sounds
One ear rests upon my pillow
While the other searches
Searching for meaning
The clock ticks
Echoing in my head
Cars pass by every now and again
Sirens blaring
Proving one thing
Time doesn’t stop
Life continues on
No matter what is happening within
The world keeps on spinning
The weight of that hits
I feel dizzy
Though I’m laying down
I think I’ll just lay here awhile longer
As my thoughts consume me
I don’t hear the clock
So purposefully, my ear searches
Time can’t stop
Ah ha!
There it is once more
Tick tick tock
Goes the little clock
Visions of a white rabbit
Appear in my head
Come with me, he says
Down the hole
Let’s see where we’ll go
Spinning, spiraling down, down, down
Thump!
I expected to feel pain as I landed
I did not
Instead I felt comfort
I sat up and looked about
No tables with goodies
Nothing said eat or drink me
But everything did look strange
So strange indeed
The white rabbit was gone
I was alone
Or so I thought
Strawberry haired fairies fluttered by
Singing the sweetest tune
After a spell, I felt I could drift away
Then just as suddenly as it all began
It stopped
Looking around, I searched
With my one good eye
I saw swirls of color
As I lost focus
Everything became clearer
The sound of children laughing filled my ears
I saw no one
Still, the sound remained
I stood and walked about
Trying to find the children
The more I looked
The less I found what I was looking for
I stood motionless
Shutting my eyes, I retreated within
My ears listened
But more than that, so did my soul
With the essence of a child
And soul of an old warrior
I am
Birds chirped
Their war song was clear
Not a war among great lands
It’s a war within
Fight!!
This is your fight song
Cooed the blue jays
Rise up!!
All at once, everything changed
I found myself back on the couch
Just listening once again
To the clock and its ever present ticking
The cars still drove on by
The sirens were gone
Light crept in
The wind blows
As things stay the same
They change
I change
Today, I rise
You will not win
Not today
No, today is mine
Let’s go.

Putting Thoughts Into Words

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Ever since this whole quarantine situation began, so many around me have been struggling. For many, it’s a financial thing. So many people have outright lost their jobs or have been laid off with an unknown return date. Even my husband is now facing a possible layoff situation. When you struggle just to provide the necessities for your family and there’s nothing you can do to change the situation, you find yourself freaking out. How can I feed my family?? How can I make sure that we will survive this???

For others, it’s struggling to deal with a lack of social interaction. Many thrive on being around others. Some, like me, can only handle so much isolation. Sometimes, one handles their mental health illnesses by going out and surrounding themselves among friends and family. Whether it’s going to bars to dance, sing, play pool, shoot darts, play bags, or just chat with friends, scouting out places to experience new things, going to concerts, checking out the newest movies, bowling league or just because, or often planning and hosting events for family/friends, it’s an escape from one’s own mind. Now that we are stuck at home, we can’t help but retreat into our own heads and that is a scary reality we can’t run away from.

Because of the ban on gatherings, many have had to cancel or postpone their weddings, kid’s birthday parties, baby showers, and more. After all of that time spent planning and preparing and money spent, it ends up being for naught. Flights canceled, deposits not returned, being left with a bunch of décor and such that can’t be used, and plans being canceled have left many heartbroken. Many are even unable to attend funerals for people they love and want to say goodbye to. While many of these things can be rescheduled, this means more money spent and competing with many others for venues and other vendors as many will have to reschedule at once.

There are some who still have to work and while in some ways, that is a good thing, it’s also a stressful too. They’re among others who could get them sick and if you have a weakened immune system, that is even riskier. Some who are immunocompromised are working from home, but not all. Think about the long hours too. There are professions that don’t get sent home to work or get told they’re laid off. Many are needed to make sure we don’t completely fall apart during this time.

Truckers are still on the road, as we need them to deliver goods so that our families can survive. The military still is out there looking after country.  Cops and firefighters are out protecting us from harm. The electric companies, water companies, cable companies, phone companies, etc are up and running. Grocery stores still need to stay open. Many restaurants have closed, but some are still open for delivery and take out options. The postal workers are still bringing us our mail. Medical professionals are needed to treat the sick and injured, transport those unable to get help on their own, greet the patients, do x-rays, and more. The list goes on. To keep this country running, there are a lot of people out working their tails off, subjecting themselves to countless germs.

The kids being off school has forced many to stay home from work. That goes with the first paragraph, creating financial issues. We may be getting assistance, but it’ll take time for that to go through and arrive. Now, add in you’re stuck at home with your kids, trying to home school them and many don’t have experience in this. The social interaction for your kids has ended. They can’t spend time with their friends. While it is easier for many adults to grasp the situation, many kids don’t understand and that is hard. Watching your kids struggle with this hurts. We would love to let them go play with their friends, but we can’t. Now many families are secluded with one another day in and day out, creating tension and more stress.

No matter what one’s situation is, I don’t think anyone has it easy. These points and more, we’re all struggling somehow and some are struggling on several fronts. Some are coming together to help where they can and that is great to see. It’s nice to know that some are looking out for their families, friends, and neighbors. It is also saddening to see that others have revealed their selfish and cruel natures as people are getting into fights over supplies. The need to provide for their families while we’re shut in has driven people to desperate measures. Some are simply trying to get through the week and others are hoarding enough to last for months. This whole mess has created mass hysteria. Panic buying is making it hard for others. Stores are trying to keep up with our needs, which has the truckers making more runs. I can only kind of fathom what stress this whole thing is causing others.

For me personally, I am struggling in ways I am trying to find words for. Writing has been an outlet for me since grade school. I need to put these thoughts into words which strung together, shall become sentences that hopefully convey how I feel. On one hand, my soul aches for everyone around me, especially those I am closest to that I know are struggling. I loathe that people I love are hurting. From being laid off at work to losing everything in a fire on top of everything else going on, many I love are in tough situations that I can’t fix. Anyone who knows me knows that other’s pain isn’t something I handle well within myself. Sometimes I take that pain and use it to help them, but even when I find ways to help the people I love, that pain and heartache still haunts me. Add in that I am struggling personally, I am a mess. So much pain, sorrow, grief, heartache, confusion, anger, stress…..

I run a small photography business. Due to a situation out of my control, my business account has over drafted. We don’t have the money within our personal finances to fix that. So, the longer I am without business, the worse shape my account gets in. I am so stressed right now. I had a couple that was going to sign me for their wedding, but due to the bride being laid off, they have to put planning their wedding on hold. Being me, I am dealing with conflicting emotions about it. On one hand, I feel so bad for them. My hubby and I talked about how I would handle it if I was the bride in this situation. Knowing me, I would be a wreck. I can imagine how she feels and I don’t like it one bit. I wish I could make it better for her. On the flip side, I am stressed because I needed that money to set things right with my account. I have never been in this position in all the time I have been running my business. I am, as Peg from Peg & Cat says, TOTALLY FREAKING OUT!!!

On top of that, I feel for my hubby. He is our main provider and if he gets laid off, even on a rotating schedule, it will hurt us significantly. He’s feeling the stress big time. We were already struggling, but now we’re hurting even more. He was driving Uber on the side, but now he’s stopped that so as not to be at more risk for getting sick. Part of that is, he knows if I get it, I will be in bad shape due to my weakened immune system and also because we have kids to consider. They are already stuck at home, don’t want them to get sick on top of this isolation business. Speaking of, this isolation business is not good for me at all. I am one who thrives on being able to see friends and family. I love hosting play dates, going to parks and the zoo with my daughter, making plans with friends, spending time with family, and just having the freedom to be out and about without worrying about ending up in the hospital.

I used to go out a lot when I was younger. It was one way I managed my bi-polar, though I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing until much later. I went out to escape my thoughts, to not be alone, and to fight my inner demons. The going out phase lessened over the years, especially to bars and clubs. Part of that was due to life changing and part of that was just me changing along with it. But even when you couldn’t find me out and about nearly every weekend and even on some weeknights, singing karaoke, dancing, and talking it up with friends, I still went out on occasion. When I got together with my now husband, we did go out a lot at first. Over time, that started to change. At least as far as bars went anyway, we didn’t go out much after a couple of years.

We do like to go out on date nights still, but not so frequently and when we do go out, it’s not been to bars. We go out to dinner, bowling, challenge our minds at an escape room, get some ice cream, go see a movie, check out a band we like, etc. (we haven’t been to bars in a quite awhile. I won’t say we’ll never go to one again, but it will remain a rare occurrence. It’s just not our scene anymore.) Sometimes we’ll get away for a weekend to go camping, explore a city, see family, etc. I also like to go see friends sometimes. There’s me trying to host bonfires, cookouts, game nights, and dinner parties too. All of that is now put on hold. I loathe it, deeply. Being confined is harder for me than I can properly explain.

Last night, my daughter looked me with her big brown eyes and said, “Friends come over to play???” My heart cracked and broke. I tried explaining to my three year old why that isn’t possible and she didn’t understand. That is one of the hardest parts about all of this. She doesn’t get why we can’t have people over, why we can’t go to the zoo or the park, etc. I try to make things fun for her, but it only does so much. She wants to play with her friends. Oh sweet girl, I know, I feel that way too. We may have to cancel her birthday party for next month and that hurts me more than I can say. In time, she will likely forget all of that, but I won’t. I wanted to make her day special. I hope this is over by then. If not, we will still do what we can to make it special for her. (a party of four and maybe see about creating a video chat for people to attend or ask people to record birthday messages.) I want her to enjoy turning four. We will do what we can no matter what the situation is.

I hope this is all over soon. I hope that this isolation ends up being worth it, keeping many safe and lessening the spread of it for those who do get it, so that the hospitals and clinics can keep up with this. I also hope that when it’s time to get back to normal, whatever normal even is really, that we’ll be able to recover and have an easy transition into our lives as they were before this hit.

I also hope that during this seclusion that we will find ways to get closer to our families. May we use this time to get to know one another in new ways, find out things we didn’t know and learn to appreciate one another more. Since we can’t change the situation at hand, we should make the best of it. That is much easier said than done. Personally, I am struggling with that, but I am trying and that’s all any of us can do. I will use this time to do what I don’t usually have time for, like this. I used to write a lot. That’s slowed down the last few years. Singing, writing, taking pictures just for me, scrapbooking, cooking new recipes, and much more are on my list of things to do or do more of. It seems like a good time to let my creativity blossom once more.

I am praying for the world, our nation, the state of Wisconsin, Washington County, our community here in West Bend, my family and friends, my kiddos and hubby, and even myself. I pray that we will, overall, come together and see that the best way to face and get through this is to stick together. Even when we can’t see one another in person, there are still ways to stay connected and ways to help one another out. I am working on getting care coolers together to give to truckers who are struggling with getting something to eat and have gathered things together from people in my awesome community to help my friends that lost stuff in a fire. Porch drop offs, being diligent about hygiene, etc all go a long way and make it so we can help others still. The world has shut down a lot, but we’re still finding ways to keep going. I hope you’re doing well and if not, I pray that things get better for you soon. Don’t forget to take care of you, you matter and please remember to also look after those around you however you can. Together, I am hoping we will make it through this!!

Parenthood

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Being a parent is both the most rewarding and challenging thing I’ve ever done or may ever do, in my opinion anyway. I know many out there agree with me. Here are some of my thoughts and reasons I feel the way I do…

I love being a mom for many reasons. I learned the truest meaning of unconditional love when I looked at my now 17 year old for the first time. I never loved anyone as much as I have my own child, until I had another. I love them equally. I don’t always like them equally, let me make that clear, but my love for them both is immeasurable. Right behind that is my love for my mother, husband, and closest of friends. I love many and a great deal, but no more than I love my children.

Getting random hugs, without any ulterior motive and hearing them tell you they love you can change even the hardest of days sometimes. Spending time with them is such a joy, even when you’re just watching a movie or playing at the park. Sometimes the simplest moments are the best!! Getting handmade projects from them is such a treasure, totally brings smiles to my face. When you watch your kid make a good choice, do something for the first time on their own, or help someone else, the pride you feel is immense! The list goes on!!

Being a parent means making sacrifices, to give them what they need and sometimes simply to see them happy. Making sacrifices for our kids and others we love is something we all do throughout life. Something I’ve learned however is that there should be a limit to that.

One should never sacrifice or compromise their values, become someone they aren’t and don’t like, or forget who they are to begin with. In the end, doing these things not only hurts you, but it also hurts your kids, the ones you swore to protect. It’s not always easy to see, but sometimes giving in to our kids and their whims to see them happy, covering for them in the name of protecting them, stepping in at every turn to keep them from harm only does more damage than it does good. There needs to be limits on what we’ll do for them in order to truly give them the best childhood and greatest chance at having a good adult life as possible.

I have told my 17 year old, I won’t be the parent who supports a bully or worse. If you act out, you will be put in your place, just as I will fight to protect you when you’ve been hurt, to a point. Hurt my child and you will hear about it from me, however my children need to learn to fight their own battles and in a healthy way and if they’re the one that starts the fight or acts out, they will face the consequences. Good and bad, there are reactions to what we’ve done in life that we must all deal with and I’m working on making sure my kids know they’re not exempt from that.

There are those parents that act like their kids are never in the wrong and almost worse yet, those who see what they’ve done and find no fault in it. I feel that only enables people to feel entitled and keep acting out, making poor decisions, etc because they never have to answer for what they do.

Being an enforcer is hard, really hard actually and I personally find no joy in it, but it needs to be done sometimes. I used to be way to lax on my 17 year old, as our time together was limited and I didn’t want to be the bad guy for that brief time we shared. That was a mistake, as my kiddo needed that discipline and structure. Of course, you can go too far the other way too, being too hard on your kids and going too far.

Finding a healthy balance feels unobtainable many days, but it’s something I keep striving for. Whether it’s what we give them, allow them to do, what we allow them to get away with, how we punish them, how we reward good behavior, what’s sick enough to take them in, what we let them figure out on their own, or what we take care of for them, it’s a daily balancing act.

We want our kids to be well rounded, self sufficient, hardworking, healthy, successful, and happy, all while we’re trying to be that for ourselves. (All while our own parents had wished this for us, it’s a cycle that keeps going.) We do our best everyday and that’s all any of us can do, but it can be easy to second guess our decisions, especially when you’ve got others around you judging your parenting skills.

“That’s now how we do it in our house…” Well, good for you, you do things your way for your family and I’ll do things my way for mine. Seriously, why do we pick one another part for another’s methods??

“I would never let my kid eat that.” That’s your choice. Why worry about what I feed my kids? Is it your business? My kid is healthy and that’s what matters.

“Where is your kid’s coat??” She was wearing it and this the third time in 20 minutes that she’s taken it off, but you seem to have assumed she doesn’t own one.

Instead, we should do this more often…

“Hey, here’s your daughter’s coat. I see your hands are full, I get it, happens to me too.”

“Here, let me open the door for you.”

“Do you need help?”

Tone too! This is huge! You can say something kind with an arrogant or judgmental tone and turn it into something ugly. It takes a village to raise children and honestly, get through life. We should worry less about others doing things differently than us and focus more on being supportive of and encouraging one another. This would make for a better society. Being a parent is hard enough all on its own, we shouldn’t add to the stress.

There’s no need to harshly debate infant feeding methods, whether or not to homeschool, curfews, what shampoo you use on your kids, chore lists, consequences for our kids getting in trouble, whether or not to let your kids have juice, how to potty train, co-sleeping, etc. Calmly and kindly discussing these issues is fine, but there’s no need to be mean or rude and nor should we insert ourselves in another’s situation acting like a know it all. Your kids are yours and theirs are theirs, no one kid or situation is the exact same. If we really want to help a struggling mom or dad, fine, but there is a good way and definitely a bad way to handle things.

Right now, I’m dealing with a 17 year old that has been making a series of bad choices for years and over the last few years, it’s just been this downward spiral. It’s really hard watching your kid do stupid things, throw many chances given to make things better away, and dig their heels in, so stubborn and unwilling to do everything possible to learn and grow.

When some around you treat you like it’s all your fault, like you’re a failure, or like your kid is simply a lost cause and you should just wash your hands of it all, you find yourself feeling hopeless and depressed, also very angry and defensive as well. Now, some have been incredibly supportive and doing what they can to help and that’s something I greatly appreciate. These people are part of my village and I’m glad. I work hard to be a positive part of theirs as well. I just wish there were more among us that were like that sometimes.

I also have a daughter that turns four in April and that has its own set of challenges, but also its own greatness as well. Both of my kids bring immeasurable amounts of joy and stress to my life. Even in my toughest moments, the happy moments makes it all worth it. I look back and try to learn from the toughest moments and cherish the best ones and I look forward with hope. May my children find their wings and learn how to fly on their own, but may they also know home is also wherever I am.

Wings

 

Lying in a pool of sweat and poor decisions

Feeling weak and afraid

With years of addiction weighted on her

She lifts her weary head, trying to find the light

 

A heart once made of gold

Had turned to stone over the years

As the granite begins to crack

Sorrow and anguish pour out in a steady stream

 

Crying silent tears, she whispers softly

“Please, help me.”

Pain turned her towards temptation

Temptation that promised to ease her suffering

 

That suffering did lessen for a time

She even found herself feeling happy

But that was only an illusion

Once it faded, the pain was even worse than before

 

It crippled her, a little at a time

She didn’t even notice until she was so far gone

Ashamed, she withdrew from the world

Until she was all alone, feeling helpless and powerless

 

As her longing for change grew, a spark ignited and grew within

The darkness that surrounded her didn’t seem as confining

Within it, she found some strength to stand

A light started to shine in from the East

 

She turned her gaze towards it and could feel its warmth

Slowly, she moved in its direction

Talking within her own mind along the way

Hoping and praying for a new beginning

 

“Please help me.”

She said again, but louder this time

A sense of peace began to fill her soul

The chains fell from her like heavy weights

 

Wings that had been pinned down for so long emerged

Bent and unsteady still from years of damage

They fluttered with uncertainty, rather irregularly for awhile

It was going to take time for healing, but the process had begun

 

As she opened up about her past

Letting down her guard and letting herself begin to trust

Making amends also to those she’d hurt along the way

Her wings gained strength and her aura glowed with such radiance

 

One day, as she sat on a lush green patch of grass

She saw a purple butterfly nearby

Silently, she watched it flutter to and fro

Admiring its beauty and confidence

 

It landed on her bare feet and seemed to look at her

Staying as still as possible, she basked in this great gift

A sense of calm filled her soul as it stood upon her foot

She tilted her head ever so slightly, her dark brown hair caressed her cheek

 

The clouds parted and the sun shone through

The butterfly flew away towards the East

Turning her head towards the path it took

She saw a little church across the way

 

She stood, as she felt this strong urge to draw nearer to it

Hesitantly, she made her way inside

At the back of the sanctuary, she sat quietly

Bowing her head, she spoke silently

 

“I’ve made a mess of things and I blamed others for so long…

Including You, feeling abandoned

Now I see You never left me

It was me who left You…”

 

Tears touched her olive cheeks

Letting them fall, she apologized and asked for guidance

Though she’d begun to heal and move forward

She still had a long way to go

 

After awhile, she stood up to go

Drying her face with her sleeve

She looked back briefly and smiled

I’ll be back, she thought with resolve

 

As the sun hit her face once more

Her wings expanded and this time fluttered with more certainty

Through Him, she found strength within

Strength that gave her the courage to move forward

 

Her story doesn’t end here

In fact, it’s just beginning

She’s found the path towards redemption, peace, and belonging

Proving that even in the darkest hour, it wasn’t too late

 

She knows she’ll fall along the way

But knows who is there to catch her when she does

As the sun begins to set, emitting gorgeous hues of purple, red, and orange

Her wings lift her up and she soars off into the sky, finally able to fly.

 

 

A Monster Within

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The wind howls fiercely

Lights flicker and windows rattle

Darkness looms

An eerie presence waits

 

As the storm rages on

The darkness grows stronger

Sorrow cripples

Shadows move within

 

“It’s almost time….”

Calls out a sinister voice

Evil clutches her soul

As she prepares to rise

 

Tired of being brought down

Fed up with being disappointed

Done with heartache

She follows the shadow down a dark path

 

Red colors her mind

All else before her turns to ash

Ready to claim the dark destiny that awaits

“Join me and never fall again…”

 

Monsters aren’t just in movies

Or in the books we read for fun

They’re lurking within

Offering to take away the pain

 

“Take away my sorrow and fear.”

She cries out loud to the shadow

“Rise with me and I shall….”

It extends its gentle hand and she accepts

 

As the darkness fills her soul, she smiles

Music fills the air and she dances

Swaying to the beat, feeling free

Unaware of the shackles on her soul

 

She’s handed over her light

In the hopes of escaping the pain within

And for awhile, it does dissipate

The high won’t last, but how wonderful it is

 

The monster within is satisfied in the moment

Darkness presented something so tempting

A hurting soul longing for something special

Found beauty within its promises

 

Some days, good does triumph

And then there days when it does not

As she delights in the evils caressing her skin

She lets loose a sensual sound

 

“Take me!” She moans

Pleasure fills every inch of her

As she climaxes, she grips him tightly

His form is very pleasing

 

“Surrender.” He whispers against her ear

“All of me is yours.” She smiles and licks her lips

Thrusting, their bodies move together with a magical rhythm

As she cries out in ecstasy, she climaxes again

 

Hours pass and then days

Her joy seemingly unending

Bliss colors everything

She’s hooked

 

With that look of hunger in her eyes

He knows he’s won completely

Grabbing her hips, he pulls her close

“You’re mine.” he says with certainty

 

As the weeks roll into months

She’s become addicted

Fully under a spell

Blissfully unaware

 

All is silent and dark yet

She finds herself alone

An ache comes over her

Nothing takes the pain away

 

She cries out for him

Nothing

She’s in agony

Shaking, just begging for a fix

 

And like a merciful lord

He appears and injects her once more

Giving her just enough

Watching her succumb gives him joy

 

Body, mind, and soul belong to the darkness

Just another soul for it to devour over time

Its power grows with each victory

Be careful, you could be next.

So much to say…

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I have a lot to say right now. I stared at this screen for a little bit, unsure of where to begin. I couldn’t think of a clever title for this, so it is what it is…

I meant to write more in 2019 than I did. There were several times where I thought to myself, I really should blog, it’s been awhile and then I got busy and forgot.

It’s now 2020… Alright, where is the Jetson life I thought we’d be living? Honestly, I’m okay without flying cars, robot maids, etc. I wouldn’t necessarily mind being able to push a button and have my food be ready. Though, with an instant pot, that’s pretty close. 🤣

2019 brought a lot of loss, heartache – both literally and figuratively, stress, and struggle. It did also bring some joy, laughter, fun times, and good memories made. Overall, in all honesty, I am happy 2019 is over. There are lessons and memories I’ll take from it though.

One of the biggest things that happened in 2019 was my son coming home to live with us full-time, for the first time in 14 years, I got primary placement back. At first, I was so happy. I had fought for this for so long. I remember the tears, the heartache, stress, sleepless nights, and fighting it took to get to this point and finally, it was over.

About a month or so in, the high wore off and our troubles began. In the 14 years that I had limited time with my son, a chip grew on his shoulder, one that has become a mountain.

He’s angry at the world. His dad didn’t listen, was there physically and yet not there for him a lot of the time, kept trying to turn him into something he’ll likely never be, pushed him away, and refused to give him the one thing he’d been asking for over 13 years – to live primarily with me.

I struggled with my mental health issues, still do sometimes, and I was sometimes mentally checked out. I was too soft on him, to try to balance out how strict his dad was being. I was trying to be what I thought he needed, but I think I missed the mark more than I ever meant to. I sometimes was too self involved. As he was growing, neither his dad or I were really what he needed, I just didn’t fully see that until recently.

He was picked on in school for being different. He eventually fought back and that led to trouble. Coupled with mental health issues that were starting to present themselves, feeling torn between Mom and Dad, and a host of things going on inside his head, he was going down a path that would lead him towards darkness, a darkness I’m afraid of.

Early on, he was acting out. He was crying out. His dad didn’t listen. I kept telling him bad things would happen if he kept ignoring our son’s cries for help and to be heard. The tall tales increased, stealing started, fighting in school/class began, and antagonistic behavior towards his step-mom grew to a frightening level.

Fast forward to 2018. He tried running away in January and then in May, he got to a point where he pulled a knife and held onto it, scaring his step-mom, who by this point now had two little kids of her own and was also babysitting for someone. After talking to them, they finally listened somewhat and took him to a behavioral health facility. He was there for roughly two weeks. They tweaked the meds he was on while there. At first, he refused to see or talk to his dad and step-mom. After I talked to him, he finally decided to open up and talk to them. He seemed to learn a lot in his time there.

After a month or two, things went back to normal and in time, got worse on all fronts. He was actively stealing often, in more trouble at school, was alienating the few friends he had, and things at his dad’s were getting dangerous, to all involved. In that time, I began the court process, once again, (As I had gone through it in 2007-2009) to bring my son home.

In November of 2018, the court said they would leave it as is until the summer. I would then get primary placement for a trial run and if all went well, it could stay that way. Things seemed to be looking up.

On February 7th, 2019, things reached their breaking point for my son, his step-mom, and his dad. Cops were involved on both sides. He was taken to shelter care. We picked him up and he’s been here since.

Like stated earlier, things were fine for a month or so. I was taking him to school over an hour away until the court made the change a little more official, about a month later. He started going to school here then. Within two weeks, he was already getting into trouble here.

After all the fighting we did to make this happen and him swearing to me he’d start making better choices and that this change would help him grow and mature, it hurt my soul to see he was continuing this self destructive behavior. He was still lying, stealing, fighting, etc. He was also beginning to cause problems with his little sister, problems that go beyond simple sibling rivalry. His outbursts became violent. He would break things when he didn’t get his way/was angry. Now, I knew this wouldn’t be a quick fix, but he wasn’t working at changing and it was hard to watch and deal with. Therapy started and meds were tweaked and at first, there seemed to be an improvement.

After getting through Summer school, he was enrolled in an online school. As public school hadn’t ever worked well for him, it was time to try something different. Again, he swore things would be better without all of the distractions.

At first, things were fine. And then… He started to slack off, bailing on classes and only putting so much effort into his school work. His issues with sister were increasing. He got in trouble for stealing, again. Things were reaching a boiling point.

Meds were tweaked again and again, things were a little better and then they weren’t. The stress levels were high on all sides. My husband loves my son, but then there’s our daughter to consider and he made it known that for him, she comes first. Feeling torn between my children, I was unsure what to do. I knew things couldn’t continue as they were though.

After all of court stuff for what he’d been doing, he was placed on supervision. Those every other week meetings generally went alright. But, this last meeting didn’t go well. It led to him storming off. He didn’t like the rules and said he couldn’t live here. Once shelter care was explained to him, he said that wouldn’t work either. He got dramatic and said he could either live on the streets or kill himself. We explained those weren’t viable options. We kept trying to explain why it’s important he take his school work seriously and that what’s being asked of him isn’t any more than what many parents expect. He didn’t care about any of that and left the room, stomping up the stairs to his room.

That left my hubby, who got home from work, the social worker, and myself to talk. She said she’d give us the night to think about things and would see what we wanted to do in the morning. I talked to his dad and to my husband. In the end, it was decided to have him taken to shelter care. The cruelty to his sister, disrespectful behavior towards my hubby and I, trashing things and taking off, the lies, the taking things from us, the bailing on school stuff, etc needed to be stopped and we felt helpless to help him. Everything we’d tried wasn’t working.

He left peacefully yesterday, but wasn’t happy. He fought with me on the phone, clearly not ready to change. He kept trying to bait me, as is his way, and eventually I hung up. They did get him to do school work, saw that by the emails I got from the school when things got turned in. I don’t know where his mind is at today, but he’s got court in a few hours. I just want things to get better for my son, for our family.

My almost four year old shouldn’t be afraid of my 17 year old. My brilliant 17 year old shouldn’t be failing in school. Our family shouldn’t be feeling such constant tension. We should be able to spend time together as a family. We shouldn’t have to lock our bedroom door. We should be able to trust him with our daughter. We should be able to trust him in general. This whole situation sucks.

I pray to God for healing, light on the path we should each take as individuals and as a family, peace, love to help us grow closer again, for the pain to stop…. My soul aches and I just want the ache to end. I pray that this is the beginning to better days.

This isn’t the only thing going on, but it is definitely one of the biggest. One thing at a time, right? Then maybe we can focus on our marriage, finances, health, time with friends, etc more? I’m trying to be many things to many people. Sometimes I forget to be what I need for myself. I’m working on it. I’ll always be working on it, as I’m sure everyone will be. Our evolution only stops, or should stop anyway, when we die. While we’re here, we’re growing as people.

I hope that I can become a better me all the time, ever learning and changing. I want to be a better mom, wife, daughter, friend, business owner, photographer, writer, singer, cook, camper, nature lover, inhabitant of this world, Christian, and overall person.

I want to be someone people love, respect, look up to and admire, get inspired by, and that will be remembered as someone who gave, loved, and lived her life the best she could. I want that dash in between my birthday and the day I die to represent a life well lived.

I have hurt and been hurt. My parents hurt me. My mom was hurt by her parents. My grandparents had their own tales, some good and some not so good. I wanted to give better to my kids. Have I?

At 17, my grandma was pregnant and eloped to another state to get married. She’d already given up a child for adoption. She was in love with a man who wasn’t so nice a lot of the time. She gave birth to my uncle. They worked to later raise three kids. She did the best she could, but her best wasn’t enough to protect my mom from her own dad or provide what her kids really needed.

At 17, my mom was ready to bail and did at 18, married an abusive jerk. She left. She had me at 20. She did her best. Her best led me to foster care when I was abused by her boyfriend. That led to years of pain for us both. If I’m being honest, I think that pain is with us yet. She made a certain amount of peace with her mom, but I don’t think she ever fully let go. I haven’t fully let go yet and I’m still trying.

At 17, I was bounced between my mom, old foster mom, grandma, mom, and grandma again. I was so angry, hurt, depressed, and scared. I was diagnosed with bipolar at 19/20. I had my son at 23. I was an absolute wreck. I think over time, I’ve grown. I’m still a mess sometimes, but I think I’m in a much better place than I have been before.

At 17, my son is at shelter care because of his anger issues, refusal to do what’s expected of him, his harming his sister, and his need to control everything. He’s angry, scared, depressed. He’s struggling. He may want to be a she. He isn’t sure what he wants. He is trying to find his way.

On one hand, I believe I’m doing the right thing… He needs help, help we couldn’t alone give him. This could be a good thing for him, probably not right away, but eventually.

On the other hand, I still feel so awful that it ever got to this point. Sending my son away is killing a piece of my soul. I’m trying to keep the first point in mind so I don’t lose my mind completely.

Thank you to anyone who’s made it thus far, for reading what I’ve had to say. I hope that it’s perhaps touched something in you. If you’re going through any of this, know you’re not alone. Somehow, I’m making it. I am holding onto my faith, that things will work out. Please, I pray you’ll hold on too. And now I take another step forward….

To Give Or Not to Give…

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I’ve heard people debate whether gift giving is celebrating Christmas properly or not. Is it Christ like or is it not honoring Christ? I can honestly see both sides. In the end though, this is how I feel….

I don’t believe that’s how God intended we celebrate His son’s coming into the world, however, I do think it is Christ like to give to others. I think when we put others ahead of ourselves and give to others, we’re continuing His legacy of love.

I also don’t think we need to go overboard though, shouldn’t have to fight crowds, spend so much we’re in debt, or feel the need to impress anyone. We could give simply and it would still be wonderful, if given from a place of love and light in our souls.

Whether or not you put up a tree, lights, and other decor doesn’t dictate whether you celebrate the Christ in Christmas or not. Honestly, neither does going to church on Christmas Eve. A church goer does not a Christian make. How you dress, what you give or if you don’t, where you go, etc doesn’t truly matter at the end of the day either. In my soul, what I think matters is how you treat others and the love you give, Christian or not.

I will not put another down for feeling or celebrating differently. All I ask is show me kindness, respect, and love and I’ll do the same. I will not hide my love for Jesus and I’ll gladly share His story with anyone willing to listen and His love with everyone I can, but I won’t berate you if you don’t share the same feelings or beliefs. I’m going to say Merry Christmas to all. If you say something else, like Happy Holidays or perhaps nothing at all, that’s fine. Be true to your heart and I’ll be true to mine. ❤💚

Happy Anniversary & Other Such Things

Today is my wedding anniversary!! First, I’ll say that it’s a day worth celebrating. Four years ago today, I pledged my everlasting love to my now hubby in front of God and many of our family members and friends. It was a beautiful day, both due it being one full of love and weather wise as well. Joyous definitely describes our wedding day.

Over the last four years since we said, I do, and even before then, we’ve faced a lot together. We’ve lost loved ones, faced financial issues, dealt with illnesses and injuries, and other things that have put strain on us. We’ve also laughed, enjoyed lots of time with friends and family, experienced great things, and created many amazing memories. Throughout the good and bad, here we are, still standing together. That’s what a team does, sticks together through it all.

So yes, for my hubby and I, today is definitely a day worth smiling about. It’s also my friend Ashley’s birthday. I remember telling her when the date was set that it fell on her birthday, wasn’t sure how she’d feel about it. She told me she was honored to share her special day with us. Yay! So today, I also say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ASHLEY!!! I hope today is full of joy and love for you, dear friend!!

I’m sure today is special for others as well. Others are likely celebrating their wedding anniversaries and birthdays. I am willing to wager that it’s also a day for signing paperwork to get keys to their new home, starting/started a new job, made a big move, started dating, stopped smoking, and more. Today is a day for many to smile and I’m happy to share in this joy with all of you.

Today is also likely a day that’s hard for some. Some lost people they love, lost jobs, got into a life changing car accident, found out they’re ill, and other heartbreaking things. My heart weeps for those that hurt today. I know that while we celebrate today, others aren’t, that others have reason to be sad. Life goes on around us, through the good and bad we face, others do their own thing.

Today too, my son has court for some poor decisions he’s made. It is hard to watch my brilliant son throw his future to the wind. He’s starting to see he wants so much and he needs to make some changes, but he’s still being stubborn, fighting it some. I hope he gets a wake-up call and starts to really fight for his future. May today end up being the beginning to a brighter future for him.

No matter what today is for you, I hope you find some joy. Even if today is sad, it brings hard times, may you find at least one reason to smile. If not, if it’s just too hard today, maybe tomorrow? My thoughts and prayers are with the world today, all who struggle, mourn, and worry. It’s also with those who laugh, smile, and celebrate. Whatever today is, at least it is. We’ve been given another day and that is cause to celebrate.

Mental Health Awareness – Speaking Up.

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May is National Mental Health Awareness month. This is something that speaks to my soul very strongly because I struggle with mental health illnesses and so do many of my friends and family members. I, myself, have anxiety disorder, PTSD, bi-polar – type one, and OCD.

Growing up, I didn’t know what was going on inside my head. I thought something was wrong with me. I must be broken, defective. My moods changed without warning. My thoughts raced and I couldn’t get them to slow down. The littlest thing could set me off. I would cry and not always know why. I’d be extra motivated one day and then not at all the next. I was overly anxious and paranoid. I’d feel physically ill when things became too much to handle. No one understood, most especially myself. (I’m still dealing with these things, but I’m informed now and have the support system that makes dealing with all of this easier.)

On top of that, I was molested and physically abused by my mom’s ex, mentally abused and neglected by my father, and my mom retreated into herself, not knowing what to do or how to react, how to help me, especially when she needed help herself. I was placed into a foster home and went to a few and a group home within the span of a few years. I was hit on by one of my foster brothers in one of the homes to the point I ran away. Things weren’t great.

I wanted to die several times between my pre-teen years and even into my 30’s. I wrote notes, made preparations to leave those I loved, and kept it all to myself. Only those who knew me real well even had a glimpse of how much I struggled and even many who thought they knew me, they didn’t realize how much I was hurting. I either come off as really happy go lucky and people have no clue that I hurt at all or I’m the overly dramatic one, just seeking attention. I can be both and sometimes something entirely different.

Growing up, my issues and I were either ignored, treated like something to be shunned, or like everything was just some way of being noticed. Mental health illnesses and abuse are no laughing matter. They are also not things to be ignored or made light of.

I will always speak out about mental health illnesses, suicide prevention, and abuse. I didn’t always have support and in those times is when things were at their worst. Having that support now makes a huge difference. So, I want to reach out and tell all reading this, if you struggle, you don’t have to go through any of this alone.

There are 24 hour hotlines, shelters, and other resources. Also, I’m here to listen, if you feel comfortable coming to me. You do not have to deal with this alone. No one can live your life for you, but there are people out there who can be by your side as you try to push forward, heal, and get help.

If you see any warning signs, if you even suspect someone you know is hurting, please reach out. We may not always ask for help. Be the light for those who may feel lost in the dark and have forgotten there’s still hope…

Thoughts of the Day

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Why be weird alone when we can be weird together??

Though if we’re both weird, does that make us normal?

Words can heal or they can hurt, use yours wisely.

Looking for a miracle? Everyday is just that.

Storms change us, sometimes for the better and other times not, but they will change us.

The good things in life will change us too.

Alone, we’re wonderful, but together, we’re so much better.

Beauty isn’t or at least shouldn’t be defined solely on one’s looks. For me anyway, it’s not about how much make-up someone wears, the brand or style of clothing worn, the amount of bling someone wears, how their hair is done, how much they weigh, etc. Upon looking at someone that has outter beauty, I can definitely appreciate it. However, if I see that they’re cold, stuck up, cruel, etc, it’ll be hard to appreciate their outward appearance. Looks fade, but money can’t buy you a moral code or kind heart.

We are not solely one thing. We aren’t easily defined. We are not our pasts. We are not our illnesses. We are not our mistakes. We are not our jobs. We are not the various titles others give us. Yet we are all of those things combined and a lot more. We are made up of our dreams, flaws, strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, talents, emotions, thoughts, lessons learned, pasts, presents, ancestral roots, memories, and choices.

There is often not a “right” time to do things. Sometimes there is a wrong one. Many times though, we just have to decide we want something bad enough that we make a go for it.

Words like always and never should be used carefully. Also, the words love and hate carry a lot of weight and should be used only when truly meant.

Forgiveness isn’t necessarily about freeing someone else, it’s about freeing us from the anger and pain. Both can consume us, many times without realizing it. Forgiveness means letting go and moving forward. It means not bringing it up in the heat of an argument. It means not letting the pain or anger blindside us. It means truly letting go, even when we feel we’re in the right to stay angry and hurt. Free yourself….

We can have different political views, religious beliefs, come from different backgrounds, look different, act and think different, etc and still get along.

I disagree with the statement that respect should be earned and not freely given. I don’t set out to disrespect someone who has not caused me to do so. So, I feel it’s important to give respect first. If it’s not returned, I will still try to be the bigger person. I don’t always win that fight in my head, but I try.

The debates on what foods together make me laugh. You may not like pineapple on pizza or ketchup on your eggs, which is fine, but it’s also fine to like those combinations. It’s all a matter of personal preference. Why are we always finding ways to disagree and make others feel weird for being different? 😉

Art comes in many forms. An artist isn’t simply one who paints, draws, or sculpts. An artist can be a musician, singer, actor/actress, chef, fashion designer/seamstress, software engineer, web designer, interior decorater, teacher, etc. Art lives within us all, in our own ways. Live your art!

Be kind. You never know what another is going through.

Be you. Don’t settle for being like someone else. You’re not meant to be an echo. You’re meant to be you in full force.

Those are my thoughts today. I hope even one of them made you smile, think, or find inspiration. Go out and live the rest of the day to the fullest!

 

 

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