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Posts tagged ‘family’

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!!

Semicolon Project Awareness Day

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It’s Semicolon project awareness day. In honor of that, I want to say…

Depression and other mental health illnesses aren’t always shown by making overly dramatic posts. Living with them doesn’t always mean we’re wanting to die and often times, when it is, it won’t be announced, it’ll be kept hidden. Living with mental health issues isn’t always easily visible to others. In fact, many times, those dealing depression try to hide the pain and sadness. We sometimes hide it with smiles, silliness, and a happy go lucky attitude.

They manifest themselves in different ways and they’re not on the same level for anyone. Maybe plans get canceled because we’re not up to acting happy and sometimes we’ll go out often because we don’t want to be alone. Sometimes we’ll over eat or not eat at all. Sometimes we’ll sleep a lot or barely. Sometimes the joy in things we normally love will fade and sometimes we’ll throw ourselves into it even more to try to distract our minds. Sometimes we will seem perfectly fine and other times, it’ll be easy to see. Some hide it well and others don’t. That doesn’t mean one is hurting more than another.

Depression can kill, not always via suicide, but also many times, over a long period of time, a mind can slowly give up and the body will start to deteriorate. It is not something to be ignored or treated as if it’s something we can just get over. It doesn’t have a cure. There are things that can help and make a difference, yes. One of those things is a good support system.

A support system of people that don’t judge, people that are there to help us through often makes the biggest difference. Coming from someone who has been on medicine, seen therapists, and tried many other forms of treatment, having people that stand by me has helped the most. We can be difficult to deal with. When in deep ruts, we can lash out, become unresponsive, and act out in many ways. When you stick with us through all of it, that says you love us, we’re worth the effort, and we’re more than the crippling sadness, anger, anxiety, etc that we face.

We are not our illness. We are people with hopes, dreams, desires, and goals. Thank you to those that see that. Thank you to those that help us in any way you can. Thank you for supporting us. Thank you for tough love, when needed. Thank you for a kind and compassionate love, when needed. Thank you. Thank you for all you do. Many of us know that what effects us effects you too.

My story is far from over and I hope that yours is too. If we work together, we can lift one another up and get through, one day at a time. You are, he is, she is, I am, we are worth it. Our lives are worth living. I love you. Thank you for loving me too.

Maybe

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When the life of someone you love slips away, your first reaction may be to shut down. Maybe you cry your eyes out. Maybe you feel hopeless and helpless. Maybe you hold your child extra tight. Maybe you say extra prayers. Maybe you wonder why. Maybe you try to be grateful for a life that is still yours. Maybe the emotional part of your brain aches in ways you can’t explain. Maybe you wish things were different. Maybe you feel guilty for still being here. Maybe a part of you is thankful for all you have. Maybe you are confused. Maybe you are torn. Maybe you are just trying to find a way to push forward. There is just so much loss, heartache, and pain. But, we have to keep going while it’s our time to be and maybe we need to find ways to help others do the same. Maybe. Maybe.

Rest in peace, my dear friend, Latasha Greer. You will live on through your girls, your husband, and all else who love you. You changed our lives and touched our hearts. For that, you’ll never be forgotten.

Day 21 and Beyond

 

FB_IMG_1543882138265How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

The world may never know…

 

Day zero: Insanity ensued.

Day one: Okay, let’s just take a moment to breathe.

Day two: Trying to process what has happened.

Day three: Uncertainty looms

Day four: A likely outcome awaits, but can’t quite reach it.

Day five: Snowed in. No answers yet.

Day six: Long drives, little sleep, what gives…

Day seven: A week now it’s been, any answers would be nice…

Day eight: Pay the piper day for a young man.

Day nine: Plans cancelled, day feels like a loss, but makes the best of it.

Day ten: Crickets chirp.

Day eleven: Honoring a great man that fought to break race barriers and end race wars.

Day twelve: Keep on driving….

Day thirteen: Work hard, get things done.

Day fourteen: We just want to know how to proceed. Driving gets tiresome.

Day fifteen: Still driving.

Day sixteen: Family day.

Day seventeen: Winter, feel free to go home…

Day eighteen: Day off, yet not quite.

Day nineteen: Answers at long last!!!!

Day twenty: Today, we work on moving forward.

Day twenty-one and beyond: We shall see where our paths take us…..

 

The world may not know exactly what our days ahead look like, I sure don’t. What I do know though is that they will be days filled with love. We’ll face hard times and struggle, I’m sure of that too. We will laugh and have great days. Life is full of ups and downs. Through them all, we’ll face them as a family. I’m looking forward to day 21 and beyond.

 

***picture taken at a wedding I shot in Manitowoc on September 29th, 2018***

My Everything

Here is a short and sweet one today…

Before becoming a mom, I didn’t know what it really meant to love someone unconditionally, without hesitation. I just wanted to take a few moments to say how blessed I am to be a mom to these two beautiful souls. They give me a sense of purpose, that I’m to help guide them into adulthood and to love them always.

**Pictures taken by me, first one in our yard on October 14th, 2018 and the second one at Ridge Run in the summer of 2018**

Raw Truth

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A soul that simply wants love and peace struggles with so much sorrow, stress, and heartache thrown her way. She knows that life is never perfect, but sometimes wonders why it has to be this hard.

She smiles and laughs a lot. She knows there’s still so much to be grateful for. But in all honesty, sometimes those smiles and laughs aren’t fully genuine. Sometimes she just wants to keep people from worrying about her or seeing how bad things can be for her or her family.

Sometimes she is the epitome of selflessness, giving of her talents, things that she owns, or her time, whether she’s really in a position to do so or not. There are times where she’s instead this being of such selfishness, where she can’t see beyond her own pain, needs, or desires. There are times when she makes it all about her.

Right now, she’s not okay at all and if being completely honest, she hasn’t been for awhile. She’s feeling so overwhelmed. She lets a fraction of that show for some to see sometimes, but often keeps much of it to herself. She thinks many just don’t want to deal with her pain, insecurities, doubts, and mental health issues.

She feels things intensely, all things. If she’s scared, sad, angry, worried, jealous, anxious, or even happy, she REALLY feels it and not just her own feelings, but those around her too. If someone she knows is hurting or even really happy, she feels it like she’s going through whatever it is the other is dealing with. Only those like her begin to understand what that’s like, that it feels like a blessing many times, but can feel like a burden too, most especially when they’re struggling themselves. It’s not something they can just shut off either, this is why sometimes she distances herself from others, not because she doesn’t care, but because she feels too much all at once.

She loves God and believes in the power of love, mercy, and forgiveness. Yet sometimes she struggles in her own sin and finds it hard to fully let go and move on. Some wounds haven’t fully healed, though it’s been decades. She has prayed with such genuine desire to be free of the pain and lingering anger that lives buried within and somehow she still can’t fully let go. She’s let go enough to stop the daily nightmares and to allow some to be in her life, to feel a powerful love for them and an honest desire to see them happy, but the pain is still there.

She knows she can be her own worst enemy and harshest critic. Sometimes she is so cruel to herself. Sometimes she makes herself cry from the way she speaks in her own head. Sometimes she doubts the kind things people say. She grew up feeling alone, unwanted, ugly, and not worthy of being truly loved. It’s hard to overcome years of feeling this way, years of being told she’s nothing, and years of being ignored. She’s trying, every day, so very hard, she’s trying. God loves her and He also sent many into her life that love her too. Part of her knows she’s loved beyond measure and that there’s so much good beyond the flaws. Part of her still struggles with doubts sometimes and then she feels guilty for feeling that way…

When some people only contact her because they want something, she feels unappreciated and used, worst of all is when it’s family that make her feel so awful. How can she cut ties with people whom she loves and yet feels may not truly love her in return?

She’s moody, a pain to know and love sometimes, talks an awful lot, is what some consider to be too sensitive, and a bit neurotic at times. In all honesty, she’s not always easy to get along with. Yet, she’s also very kind, generous to a fault much of the time, funny, great to talk to, and loving. She may not always be easy to stay connected to or be friends with, but feels maybe she’s worth it if you stick around.

Pet peeves are a long list with this one, but she has gotten better with keeping some of those feelings to herself. She’s, perhaps irrationally, irritated by loud eaters, IM speech and most especially when people use zero punctuation marks to separate thoughts, rude drivers, disorganization, improper use of words like they’re, their, and there, using words that aren’t words like irregardless, people messaging her about business opportunities she has zero interest in, mass messages and texts, chain messages, when people put empty containers away instead of disposing of them, cleaning up after grown ups, finding toilet paper rolls that are put on, what she feels, is the wrong way, and the list goes on….

She wants to be seen and heard…..

She wants to be enough, for her husband, her children, others in her family, her friends, her clients, and so much so, for her God. She wants to be enough for herself too….

If she feels a certain way about something or someone, do not try to change her mind. She will respect your feelings and beliefs, but she would appreciate it if others do the same for her.

She has so many unfinished projects out there. She wants to get better at starting a book or gift for someone and actually finishing them.

Though she’s happy with the life God has given her, sometimes she wonders what it might be like if she had made some better choices. Then she feels guilty for feeling that way. Clearly, life has turned out the way it has for a reason and to get here, the things that happened needed to happen. Yet, sometimes that’s hard to accept.

She really dislikes extreme heat or cold. Though things like humidity and horrible wind chill bother her and she will complain about them, she can’t see herself living anywhere than her home state, at least for quite a long while. When people tell her to move if she hates the weather, she is annoyed because it isn’t really that simple. Her whole life has been rooted to one state. In her mind, one doesn’t simply uproot everything because the weather sometimes sucks. Family, friendship, and love are pretty good reasons to stay. Yes, she may whine about weather now and then, but in reality, she’s home right where she’s at and doesn’t want to leave anytime soon.

She is, as I’m sure anyone reading this can guess, me. I could say a lot more. I could open up the floodgates. If I do, if I go into more detail, say more of what haunts me, what makes me who I am, who I was, and who I want to be, I hope you’ll not think less of me for doing so.

I feel I’m complex and yet not so difficult to know. If you really want to know me though, be warned, as mentioned before, I’m a handful. I think, perhaps, that you may find the journey worth it though.

My PTSD stems from being emotionally neglected by my mom, sexually and physically abused by one of her boyfriends, being either neglected or treated like garbage by my dad, the things that happened in my foster homes, and being raped by someone I thought cared for me.

Some days, I feel okay. Some days, I think I’m mostly over what’s happened. I’ve mostly forgiven my mom. I love her more than I can say. Having her in my life means more than I can say. Her happiness is important to me. She is a gift from God. Some days though, something triggers painful memories and then I feel so angry that she wasn’t there for me when I needed her most, that she didn’t defend me, and that she left me to deal with what her, now, ex had done to me all on my own. She’s never really talked through this with me and she likely never will. I’m trying to accept that and most days, I’m okay with it. Some days are hard though, really hard.

My dad was so mean, outright mean, for so long. We have also made peace. He did apologize for hurting me and that means a lot to me. He knows he put me through so much and that I didn’t deserve it. Funny though, we don’t talk much. He’s locked up, so that’s part of it. Another part of it is that we just don’t have much to say to one another. We’re so different, in many ways. We have the same birthday and I can count, on one hand, how many times he’s wished me happy birthday. He’s not a sappy, saying I love you type and I very much am. It does hurt that we’ve never been close, even though I know a large part of that is because that’s just who he is. I long for a closeness, with him, and others I just don’t have. Sometimes I feel like I was born into the wrong family.

I know I burned bridges when I was young. I lied, stole, and caused so much mistrust when I was much younger. Some excuse it because of all I went through. Some never got over it, it seems. Some have gotten past it and know I’m not that person anymore. I do feel guilty sometimes still. I was hurt a lot, but I wasn’t innocent, free of hurting others either. I don’t feel that I deserved what happened to me anymore, but I also believe those I hurt didn’t deserve it either. I’m just glad that me died years ago and am grateful for those who either stuck by me or who let me back in when they saw that I’m different. (That’s why I often give many chances when I’m hurt, because others did that for me. I’m still learning when enough is enough though.)

I’m not okay and I’m not okay because of stuff going on with my son, things he’s dealing with at his dad’s, fighting to bring him home, money stuff, having several loved ones die in a few week’s time, a car accident, and trying to deal with it all at once. It feels like too much many days. I do keep pushing forward, one foot at a time, but some days it feels like I’m not going anywhere. Some days, I feel so lost and sometimes I’m so sick of acting like I’m happy when I’m not….

I look at my children and want more for them. I’m trying to be the good that I learned from my parents and not the bad. I know I have and will likely mess up again, but I’m going to keep trying, every day. I believe my kids know how much I love them and that they know I’ll always fight to give them a good life. Some days, I fear I’ll fail, but the fear never causes me to give up. I fall sometimes, but I always get back up and keep trying. I am that way with my hubby, my friends, family, and clients too. The day I stop trying is the day God decides I’m done.

Speaking of being done, I think this post is just about finished. I’ve not said it all, but then I don’t think I’ll be truly done for years to come. For now, I think this is enough. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I needed to free these thoughts, some of which I’ve written about before and I’m sure to again, and others maybe you’ve never seen before. All of which though, well, they were taking up needed space that I’d like to free up for other thoughts right now.

I’ve got clients to concentrate on, so that I can take the best photos I possibly can for them. I’ve got kiddos that need me to be alright. I’ve got a hubby that deserves a happier and healthier me more often. I’ve got a God and community to serve, to give my best to. So, with that, I’ll say au revoir, for now. Thanks, again, for spending this time with me. Until next time, much love and may you find a reason to smile as often as possible.

 

*photo taken by me at Regner Park, a couple of years ago.*

2018 in review

How is it that there are 10 days left of 2018? This year, as nearly every year since becoming an adult, has flown by. I am reflecting upon the past 355 days, as I tend to do every year around this time. What a year it has been.

January – My grandma and one of the dearest people in my life passed away. Business was slow.

February – Business picked up some. Court ordered a G.A.L. be appointed.

March – I did my first wedding of the year, along with several other sessions. I was prepping for my daughter’s second birthday party. I met with the G.A.L.

April – My daughter turned two! It was fun celebrating her birthday! I did my second wedding, got it last minute, on my husband’s 30th birthday. He had a fun celebration with friends and family.

May – My mom turned 60! Business kept coming. I photographed my first 50th Anniversary party. My hubby & I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. Three years in!

June – Business was fairly busy, with three weddings, a family session, etc. We wanted to get a camping trip in and then never got the chance. I had to take my son to summer school that was over an hour away every day he was with me and it made for long days.

July – I had to get my son to summer school some yet. He nearly failed the one class, but I got him to turn things around. I worked with his teacher to figure things out and got him to study. I had two more weddings. Court for placement wasn’t fun. I asked for an appeal. I did a couple weddings.

August – I did a wedding and a lot of sessions. We made time to go to the parks and swim over the summer. Too bad we didn’t make it camping though.

September – I think this was my busiest month for business. I did three weddings, a Quinceanera, a Sweet 16th, senior pictures, etc. My son started sophomore year. Hubby drove a lot of Uber hours. Life was so busy.

October – We celebrated six years together as a couple. It was a busy month for business too, two weddings, four senior picture sessions, etc. I got to go to Florida and ride on a plane for the first time ever, witnessed my cousin’s wedding. It was an incredible experience!!!! We took the kids trick or treating. I finally got to see the otter exhibit at the zoo. It was prep time for my son’s 16th birthday party.

November – My son turned 16!!!! He had a lot of family and friends come by. It was crowded in our house. 😉 He had a great time! Business was still fairly busy, but wedding season was finally over, except for the editing part. The appeal for court went fairly well. I get placement over the summer and should all go well then, there’s a good chance I get to keep it into the school year. I am PSYCHED! We have been fighting for this for years! Here’s hoping!!!

December – I turned 40 a few days ago. I have had quite the month so far! My hubby took me to see Lindsey Stirling and while away, I also got a spa package at the amazing hotel he booked a room at. It was a wonderful time all around!!! I got to see my friends this past weekend and that was fun. I got to sing karaoke! I started bowling every other week with friends. I did Santa mini sessions in my studio, for year number three. I wish I had booked more. I am finally making a dent in my editing.

There have been some struggles throughout the year, largely financial, but we keep plugging away. God helps us keep going. The kids are healthy, we all have one another, a roof over our heads, plenty to eat, clothes to wear, etc. We are also surrounded by family and friends. As stressed as we have been, honestly, things could be a lot worse. I think we are actually fairly blessed. 2018 hasn’t been great money wise and we have lost people we love, but it hasn’t been a BAD year. A lot of great things happened. I am looking forward to seeing where 2019 takes us though!!! 2019, here we come!!!!

 

A Heavy Heart Opens Up

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.

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. ❤

Another year gone, another just beginning…

2017 is over, wow. I remember the 1980’s, how is it 2018 now? *shakes head* Last year was a roller coaster of highs and lows, as I suppose is true of every year.

My son has been struggling. He’s been getting into trouble, so much acting out and defiance. He’s unhappy at his dad’s, which I know is part of the reason he’s been in trouble. I think he’s got mental health issues, which his dad isn’t dealing with. Part of it too is he’s just not making good choices. We have court soon to try to switch primary placement back to me. I’m hoping the judge sees that a change is needed, that him coming home is what’s best for him. In the end, I think it’ll be what’s best for everyone. I’m tired of watching my son suffer and I’m tired of watching him throw his future away. I hope 2018 brings change for the better for him. He’s a bright young man that can have a wonderful future, but things need to get turned around somehow.

My daughter turned one last year and now she’s nearly two. She’s grown, learned, and changed so much. She’s so inquisitive and I love watching her figure things out. She’s gotten sassier, those terrible two days have come. But even with the challenges, it’s been a great year with her. I love spending my days with her. Her laugh is contagious! When she smiles at me, wants to cuddle, plays with me, shows me she’s understanding what I’m saying, or does something new, it makes my day better. I can hardly wait to see how she grows and learns this year.

My marriage hit a couple of bumps, as have our finances, but we’ve tackled everything head on, together. We’ve faced loss, the death of his grandma hit his family, the death of my aunt hit mine and I’ve lost friends. It’s been hard, but we’ve helped one another get through each day. Marriage, parenthood, and all relationships are maintained one moment, one day at a time. I think 2018 will be better, because we work to make it so.

My first year in business went far beyond my expectations. I met so many wonderful people, some of whom became friends. I’ve learned a lot and aim to continue learning. I expanded my studio, so I can accommodate bigger families. I started doing weddings, newborn sessions, cake smash sessions, adult milestone sessions, etc. I hope to add more styles/types of sessions to my repertoire. I’m excited to see where 2018 takes me and my business.

Here’s to an incredible year we’ve left, may the lessons we’ve learned and great memories we’ve made stay with us. Here’s to a great year ahead, may we continue to learn, grow, and enjoy life while we can.

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