Stuck at the Gate

I arrived home, realizing I’d been avoiding my mailbox like the plague. My life has been busy lately, and busy tends to be translated as anxious x10 to my worrisome mind.

I killed our lawn mower. My husband killed our SUV and my van nearly died. All in that order over a three week period. While I’d like to say I handled this and the heating element of my dryer also dying with grace and patience…I did not. (But I sure thought I did!) It’s was all well and good until I showered a few nights ago. Then the tears fell – over my inability to use the soap dispenser with my ‘write’ hand. I sat down and sobbed, which made it worse, which made me sadder still. (Holy shit it’s been a ride. So glad I can’t repeat the past.)

Air drying towels and jeans should be a sin. There’s nothing I hate more than crispy towels and crunchy jeans. I can only compare it to stale cereal. Just yuck.

Anyway. That’s not what this is about.

In my mailbox was a letter…from my mother. Her cursive writing that spelled out my name and address made me feel heavy, like a laundry basket full of wet towels. I just placed it under my arm, walking inside feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders…

As I opened the envelope and pulled out the card I could see through the light blue background more cursive, more wordy thoughts, more glaring, dead references about my life, because judging is what she has always seemed to do best when it came to me. There wasn’t a bit of space left. Words were everywhere.

Not now I thought. I just can’t. I put the baby to sleep. I did dishes, folded clothes. I could not forget I’d gotten it.

Mom wrote…

Dear Bits, I was in a car accident in December in Portland. I was on my way to see my friend, my best friend since preschool. She took her own life. I didn’t know. It happened in October, but her husband hadn’t told anyone. He sent my Christmas card back, writing on the back that she’d passed. I called him and he told me everything. Just so sad.

I felt like the world had swallowed me up. 

I felt like an asshole.

I felt like a selfish asshole.

I read the rest. Out of guilt, out of remorse, and because my shame compelled me to.

Deep breath. It’s just words right?

My mothers parting lines – 

I want to ask your forgiveness and begin the restoration of our mother/daughter relationship. Let us cross over the bridge together that has kept our relationship apart, and move forward.

In my 35 years of life, not once has she said ‘I’m sorry’ for the things she’s done. Though she raised me to say it, believe it, bleed that forgiveness from every sorry pore.

I’m not ready

Deep breath

I don’t want to put away that list

The one filled with pain

Of abuse and manipulation

That one that keeps me here

Standing at the gate

My mother, filled with religion, with blame

The abyss I see just before the bridge she asks me to cross with her

I can’t

I know I should. I know that. Everything I have ever been taught, by her no less, has shown me it’s better, easier, right to cross that bridge. Everything , every Thing she’s ever done has only led me to a road void of love, and laden with the pot holes of her heavy hand, my burden to lay bare here.

Here is where I admit I hate the things she did/didn’t do. My own seething anger for all the times she beat the shit out of us because she wasn’t stable, able, willing to love – it leaves a taste of bitter fruit. The thought of letting go is at first so enticing, until a bite is taken and the drip of reality hits my palette. I can’t…

…But I will.

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A Dash of Hope…

 

 

A simple ‘Sorry‘ does not seem to accurately portray how I feel about the first year of your life my sweet darling son. Though you are so wanted I find it hard to want to be here. I know when you nurse in the middle of the night, that as you caress my face so lovingly you feel the moisture my tears have left there as they stream down my face. It’s not because of you I promise. They are weeping from deep within my sad heart FOR you. I cherish your kisses you share with me after your bath time, when you wake every morning. I adore that you hold my face still just so you can look into my soul. I wonder if perhaps you do see the mama I long to be, to feel like, rather than the mother I more often than not seem to be. Thank You for loving me when I feel so unworthy of such a gift. You are most precious to me my darling son. When I walk into our room to pick you up from your naps, you light up like the lilies in our garden as they follow the Suns light in the morning. All that joy just at the sight of me – it melts my heart. Thank you for finding happiness in me, in our kitchen dancing sessions. I’m so glad you’re not a picky listener…as I sing off key…and you still hum along to our favorite songs. You never seem worried that I won’t be here, for you, even when I feel so far away. I hope that never changes, as most days it is my saving grace. Your laugh reminds me of your fathers, and beyond that your grandfathers. You must be a very old soul to understand the things you do and see, and still laugh so whole-heartedly. Your patience takes my breath away my darling son. Always waiting for your mother to wipe her tears, always with the knowledge that you are my reason to keep going.

 

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I use to have the most terrible dreams when we were one. Dreams that all the things the doctors were telling me could happen did happen, and yet, so perfect was your smile, your heart, your tiny beautiful body when you were born. All the tests, and all the ultrasounds could not quiet this fretful mind I have. Forever lingering on the first words rather than the last of each specialist that kindly tried to calm my fears and assure me that you were healing inside of me. I counted the days until your healthy arrival, and then, suddenly when you were about one month in age – I started to weep at what I thought was a case of built up fears and stress finally allowing themselves to be released – having been given the ‘all clear’ at the sight of your glossy eyes staring into mine. The weeping never stopped. And now here I am, with you, thankful and without a way to show it. I tell you daily that I am, because I feel you need to hear it. I need you to hear it. I’m so afraid that you don’t feel my love for you. Trembling with guilt that I haven’t done enough as the sun goes down to show you I’m still here fighting for us, our family, you. It may seem like it’s all for not just now my darling son, but with Gods grace and loving kindness – one day soon all the pain your mama holds back from her world will subside. And I will truly be here. And you’ll be waiting… my darling son.

There is much to be said about my life as a mother, your mother. It is a job I adore and am beyond thankful to have. I know so many women who do not have this and would give up everything to have a baby just like you…perfect in every way. That thought is never far from me. As I carefully toss and turn in the bed we share, I think about how I can do better, show more love, be more patient and kind. It dawned on me this morning before the sun was even up…you are the example God has given me. For you are my inspiration, the vibrant ying to my tattered yang. The banana to my peanut butter. The best of me. I love you my darling son. I’m not here yet, but I’m not going anywhere…I promise.

 

 

Because He Loves Me.

My father died the day after Easter four years ago. He was in a hospital, surrounded by those he loved, that loved him. I was not there. I was not able to hold his hand or sit with my brother while he cried for our father. I could only call from 1700 miles away and hope that my words made a difference. I was beside myself with guilt. I missed my dad. I missed being there.

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When I was a child my father took us to Grandma and Grandpas house for Easter. Ham, homemade canned cherries, black olives on each finger. Easter egg hunts, and running amuck with my many cousins, my brother. That’s what Easter should be. Memories carried throughout our lives. The memories that we want to pass on to our children.

Though it’s been so long since I went home to see my family, they are always close. A thought, a prayer away. My dad, in my mind, is sitting by a fire, enjoying the star light, drinking the worst tasting coffee known to man.

When I became a Christian it was almost unthinkable to me that any being could love me, let alone God. After having my own and very personal tragedies in this life – and living through them, I know He does. I would not be here without God keeping watch, ever waiting for me to stop running and just be still. Protecting me from the terrible choices I made, keeping me from the depths of my own hell. I had children and my eyes were opened to that love in a new way. Giving a child up to save a stranger, let alone a drug addict, teen parent, homeless pile of worthlessness, is something I would never do – but God did that for me.

So, as I sit on my deck, so blessed, knowing what it is to suffer, I’m all too aware that there is much that the world doesn’t see about me, my life. But if I could choose just one part of myself to share with you, it would be the love of God.

I won’t push it on you full court press, that’s not who I am. If you don’t believe in God or are undecided, I don’t cherish you any less, and love you just the same. I don’t preach, I just choose to live my life accepting others as God does with me every day.

No matter your faith I hope this Easter weekend finds you with family, friends, the things you truly cherish in this life. I hope and pray that you look around and see all you have. Your very little bit of heaven may be more than your neighbor has. Know that if you’re spending it alone, or maybe lost, I’m thinking of you. You have a value within that is unmatched.

Make wonderful new memories to replace the sad, lonely moments. Each day is a blessing.

The Great Divide

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. I was raised in a tiny hick town. Hay, apples, hops and cattle. If you didn’t own a pair of wranglers you weren’t from there. Even the kids that hung out at the skate park (me) owned a pair of shit kickin’ boots. There is a small university. The big to-do is the rodeo, 4-H shows, and jazz festival.
My first job was shoveling horse poop and cleaning stalls, my brothers was bucking hay. The country lifestyle was rooted deep…

When I was in high school I met a young woman named Medina. Her family is Muslim, and she was (and is) one of the most accepting, loving, joyous and vibrant human beings I have known. She was the same age as me, and we just clicked in the most ‘no labels’ kind of way. Her family was my introduction to the world of Islam, and I’m so thankful for that. My small town was void of much in the way of religious diversity. And I can count on two hands the amount of African Americans who lived there. Medina was, but I never bothered to see it as some do, as a difference. As small and closed in as we all were, the color of ones skin was not a definition or label, but a unique and wonderful addition to who one showed themselves to be on the inside.

*****

I now live in the Midwest, in a large city. Our children are being raised surrounded by amazing museums, parks, a zoo. There are no farms to be seen, no weekend horseback riding. Universities and other centers of learning are scattered between the hospitals, skyscrapers. Our home is not far from all of this, but it’s far enough that I can’t see the buildings and my kids don’t hear traffic all night. A gateway to the rest of our world…

My children are friends with a vast and unique melting pot of other little humans, all of different races, faiths, backgrounds. I had hoped that raising our kids in this place would help to resonate my own beliefs deep inside them that we are all beautifully created equals…and that we all have a place to fill that only we can. (In a city that offers so many opportunities to learn and grow.) Never was I more wrong, or so unprepared for what real racism, bigotry, discrimination looked and felt like.

Our city is at war with itself. Armored vehicles patrolled city streets, riots and the burning of people’s livelihood. Lives lost, taken. Not one person matters to the other, despite the chants that they all do…or rather should. The racial divide is astounding. The socio-economic divide is mind blowing. The fear of those with a different faith is well, scaring the hell out of me.

*****

How am I to teach my children/how can any parent teach their children to be accepting of others and themselves if we, as tall and take charge humans, can’t live without placing others below us. How can I tell my child/how can you tell your child that they are not defined by their race, sexuality, faith when the community surrounding them is smacking labels on every forehead, building, neighborhood. Help!

*****

I worry for my daughter Birdie. She will be in middle school next year. More kids, more teachers. More intolerant behavior. Her best friends are not pasty white like she is. They are African American, Vietnamese, Russian, Muslim, Christian. They are girls, boys, and a sweet child whose name is that of a boy, but calls them-self a very feminine Linda. Will this shove into her teen years take away from her acceptance? Will it put her in a position to be judged or God forbid – to judge??

I, obviously do not have all the answers. But I hope a real conversation can be started. I long for the childhood I had to be that for my daughter, her friends. I have felt the pain of judgement and intolerance of society. Though I know it’s nothing compared to hardships others face simply because they are of a certain race, sexual identity. I believe in God, and I am sure in my heart that He didn’t create us all so wonderfully, so unique…only to have it used as a means to wage war, isolate, hate. We are all capable of choosing to accept, to love, to take just one step in the right direction.

*****

Take away the labels, the wealth or the lack of, and you are human. Your choices matter, who you are matters. Taking who you are and using your choices for the uplifting of mankind as a whole, rather than a tool to divide…it matters.

Of Pain and Pressing On…

 

 

**{ For those that are survivors of sexual assault/abuse please be aware that the following  may bring up the trauma of your past/present. This post is not for the eyes or minds of children. Thank you. }**

 

 

There is a deep, throbbing, hypothermic kind of loneliness that gnaws at my soul. The kind of chosen exile a victim seeks and though no fault of their own, feels guilty for wanting as they grow older. Though the moments of such pain are fleeting with the change of each season…the off putting desire for isolation rears its ugly head from time to time.

I have sat on my bed, many many many nights trying to write a ‘story’ about being a sexual assault victim, but it’s just not going to happen. Unlike the things I usually write about, even after all these years, it’s just so hard. It’s more than just a small moment in time. It’s the smells I fear. It’s the music that haunts me. It’s the man that took a part of who I was, and not just my body. It’s the things I will never get back, that he still takes from me. The people who still blame me, who use it as a means to bleed me emotionally.

Writing as if I was old enough to understand the intense trauma that was happening to me is impossible. I was thirteen, just a child. To say that the man who raped me was just some guy is not realistic. He is a predator, a man who worked for my father, and, looking back groomed me, gained my trust for several months. My father too busy, my rapist would offer to pick me up if I missed the bus, wanted a ride into town. He was 29, had short brown hair, clean shaved. Light eyes and tall. Unassuming.

I was told it was my doing, as I went there with his promise to buy my friends alcohol for a party. It was New Year’s Eve. He lived in the building my father owned. The Chaplin lived below him. I was told I deserved it, that I got exactly what I should have. By adults, by people that should have loved me, by people that say ‘I love you’ even now.

He made me a screwdriver, in a big gulp cup. He turned on The Cranberries song so popular for the time, and told me to relax. He walked out of the room. It smelled of overly ripe fruit…and Palmolive dish soap. A man I didn’t know left, closing the door quietly behind him. After a few drinks I started to feel sick, not drunk, but foggy, things became blurred. I remember trying to smile as he walked toward me, but I couldn’t move my mouth. I remember trying to talk…nothing. My arms were heavy like they had been weighed down or tied.

As he raped me, I could see out the window across the street. My friends were on the porch celebrating the holiday, drinking, laughing. I prayed one of them would look up and see me. Praying for help. Silent.

My mind was screaming for them. I tried but could not fight. My body was worthless, and he made it so. Like molten glass against my womb I screamed and screamed. Nothing. I felt my eyes bulge as I tried to move. The strain of my muscles searing in pain to escape. I could not move. Silent. Petrified.

I don’t know how long it lasted, or how often I faded in and out. I know I don’t remember everything. I remember the pain. I remember the smell of sweat, fear. Life altering pain. All consuming fear.

My friends were suppose to pick me up 15 minutes after I got there. I don’t know when they showed. In my younger years I would’ve said an hour, if you asked me now I would say hours, a lifetime, eternity.

They began pounding on his door. One friend found me on the couch. The other confronted him. Two more blocked the door. I was picked up, pants down, and brought to the bathroom. Cleaned my face. Held me up and carried me down the stairs while someone called someone and then I was whisked away to a home I lived in briefly, while I came to. The sun should have been up by now, but the world was dark. The police were called, I was taken to the hospital, a rape kit was used. I was stripped. I was photographed, swabbed, nails were dug in to. Prescriptions were given to prevent pregnancy, and to protect from std’s. Statements were given by the friends who showed too late. Blood was never drawn.

The man that raped me ran. He drove far away, stealing my fathers police scanner from the funeral home, and ran like a coward. He told someone a few weeks prior to raping me that he ‘liked them young’. I was young enough that I looked like a little girl. I was maybe 5 feet tall, blonde hair, 90 lbs, and I was wearing Levi Silvertab jeans, faded light blue, and an oversized Columbia ski vest over my white t-shirt. I was a child. I shutter to think that perhaps I wasn’t his first. God I can’t think about it.

I was told my father tried to find him, he wanted him dead. The police interviewed the Chaplin. Devastated when he realized it was his friends daughter, he later told me he cried. Beside himself he said if only he had known. He was a good man, a military Chaplin. Covered in tattoos from a life far gone but always given away with his sad, loving eyes. Detectives tracked down the roommate, who never looked at me, and he said nothing. Nothing. My rapist turned himself in some time later, hours away, and was brought back to be formally charged.

I remember walking into the prosecutors office. It smelled like copy paper, and freshly printed paperwork. Terrified. Told it was my fault I said nothing. Only that I wouldn’t testify. My mother looked at me with contempt…disgust. I was a child.

My friends refused to be totally honest about why and how we all ended up there, surely because they feared being arrested.

My mother went to the hospital, and the police station to retrieve my belongings from that night. I told her I didn’t want them. A few years ago she was still wearing my ski vest. It’s tan, with an aged black and brown zipper. It’s soft and comfortable. She wears it without a care. It makes me ill.

The man who raped me pled guilty to statutory rape, was sentenced to 3-5 years. I don’t know when he was released, but I remember seeing a man that I thought could have been him years later, and suddenly I remembered the smell of his apartment. His walk. His breath. Terrified I left the store.

A young man with the same first name as my rapist touched my belly when I was pregnant with my first child and I had my first panic attack. I was beside myself. Frozen in time. The young man wasn’t a bad person. He was mortified at my response. I hit him so hard that my hand was bruised. I had hurt someone because I was so very wounded, after all that time.

About five, maybe six years ago I received a check in the mail for just over $800. It was from my states victims compensation fund. The man who raped me had been arrested, and in order to be released he had to pay his bail…and restitution. My mind, my heart, my body, was worth $800 and a note in the checks memo…my case number I think. That child remained terrified. After all those years, I could see his face.

I remember after I was raped that I would constantly walk out of my bedroom to make sure I wasn’t alone. I remember how conflicting that was with the need to escape myself. I began cutting my wrists, the inside of my thighs, never too deep. Enough to feel a mental release of my emotional torture. To wound my sickening body. It was euphoric, yet I cried. I was afraid of myself. He took everything from me, and I hadn’t even begun to live. I showered constantly and scrubbed myself until I was raw, until hives would appear. I needed to feel clean. I wanted to die. I wanted to find him and cut off his dick. I wanted to torture him. I wanted him to die so that I wouldn’t have to in order to survive.

It’s been many many years since I was forced to carry the title of rape victim. My life has changed. I was given a family of my own. I was baptized, and found Gods Grace. Rarely do I think of my sexual assault. It’s been a hard and painful road. Climbing up a steep and burning slope before I could see the light of day, of God, of a future I wanted to be a part of. I have little value in myself, and to be honest I’m not worthy of love in my heart, my mind. But in my soul…deep within where only God can touch, I’m beautiful. I’m whole. I’m loved. In that small place, I’m not a victim but a survivor. It is with that still small voice, and my faith, that I’m able to let that small light shine bright. I made it. I’m here. And for those who suffer alone…I won’t be silent.

 

 

**{ You are not alone. You are loved. You are beautiful as you are. Time, as it is, will pass on and can become part of your healing rather than  the still burning embers of your loss. }**

Banana Milkshakes

When ever I was sick, or hurt, or happy my mom would make me banana milkshakes. She made Texas sheet cake EVERY year on my birthday…because I loved it. When I moved away from home as an adult she brought me homemade chicken noodle soup. My mom, for all her failings, and mine, has tried to mend the broken bits. For me though, the pain and indifference she had made me feel often out weighs her kindness. Perhaps it is because I see so much of her own issues in myself.

My best memories of my early childhood are surrounded by the pain. The ups and downs, her love then her screaming. It wasn’t easy for her. She raised us on her own even when my parents were married, and after my dad left we really gave her a run for her money. Catching snakes and bringing them inside. Stealing her change to go buy rats from the local pet store. My mom never complained about her lot in life, not about my father and his shitty lifestyle, the women, the drinking. She prayed every day for my dad…until the day he died she loved him and still does. She knows more about suffering than I can begin to describe and even though I will never name her…some things are never meant to be repeated.

My mom ‘Que’ was in special ed until her sophomore year, and back in the 1960’s that was very different from today. Retard was a formal word and not an insult, stupid was accepted and belittling of those with special needs was part of daily life. She wore glasses and had a speech impediment. And they left her there until her sophomore year. She married my father and after years of trying to have a child and fostering they adopted me….

I don’t remember very much of my childhood honestly, but I know there was good, I just know it. My mom truly tried to give us everything she could, but you don’t know what you don’t know…

I remember the banana milkshakes. The cold sweet taste in my mouth. The joy of feeling loved in a cup. (Perhaps a look in my broken mirror…why I have such a detestable view of food.) The smell of cake being made. The bitter cocoa filling the air, as I sat in anticipation, excitement. Knowing that with my cough the warmth of homemade goodness was forth coming.

Que is not evil, not hatred personified. She is but one stitch in the misunderstood world surrounding mental illness. She is loved no less for it. She is my mom, and nothing changes that. She is the one I cried out for with heart break, each child I brought into this world. No matter the distance or time not spent will take that from her, me.

Someday she will find herself whole, as will I, and we can meet, mend the fences, for a little bit of heaven.

My Sweet…

My daughter, Birdie, is a beautiful child. She is so very compassionate. Even as a tiny child her ability to feel empathy for someone’s suffering was obvious, touching. Like myself, she feels everything so deeply. She tries to be a friend to everyone she knows, as I’ve tried to raise her to do. She was gentle before she could speak it, loving before she knew it’s name. A few days ago she sat with her father and I late one night (as she often does)…and told us how she counts. She counts letters in words, lines, and they all have to equal a particular number. I held in the first and obvious conclusion, and instead told her I thought everyone goes through that ‘phase’ and not to worry. She seemed eager to get it out in the open. We listened. She knows about my anxiety, but I don’t really go into details with her yet. She’s still in elementary school. I fell asleep wrestling with myself about my response. The following day I really struggled with it. I cried. I told my husband I didn’t want that for her, I don’t. I never want this for anyone. To ponder the life she will have if her mind is infinitely bombarding her with numbers, patterns, strife…it breaks me. Unable to sit, I have been watching her, observing her behavior like a doctor in a movie watches their patient in a hospital room….dramatically analyzing every breath, her walk, the way she speaks when she is interacting with others, how she eats. I wrote her a letter, because when I try to talk to her I feel the tears fill my eyes, and what I want to say just doesn’t come out.

 

My sweet Birdie,

You are my most precious gift. I knew before we found out that you were to be my daughter. I envisioned that you would look like me in every way, but even more beautiful – and you are. I have watched you chase life down with such unabashed joy. It comforts my soul to see you each and every day. I cherish the moments we have when no one else is around, and it’s true when I tell you how much I value our friendship. I envy your ability to bring love and kindness out of those you love. It’s amazing. You have such a way with our dogs, they respond to you in a way I simply do not understand and I’m thrilled you seem to be able to reach even them on another level.

I know you may feel different inside. I can see that wheel turning as you ponder your heart’s desires…to fit in. There isn’t a single person that is exactly like the other on the inside. You are wonderfully and beautifully made.

Hearing that you count things, and in fact find it as a ‘thing you just have to do’ breaks me my love. I never wanted to hurt you. My prayers, hopes, dreams have always been for you to have a better life, more love, more peace…than I had as a child. I’m sorry I couldn’t keep you from my struggle. If I could put into words the heavy, all consuming guilt I feel, down into my bones I would, but I am in ruins.

Please don’t feel that being different is bad. Quite the opposite my sweet little bit. Being unique is what I love about you most of all. If you were like someone else, you wouldn’t be you, and you wouldn’t be mine.

If there ever comes a time you feel out of control, whether from that tick, tick, tick of your mind, the ever-present sound of your quickly beating heart, or the immense sadness that comes with realizing ‘our different’ isn’t so easy…I will be right here. I am always going to be here. You will never fight this battle alone. You will never be made to feel unloved, unwanted as I have in my life. For you I would die, and for you I have lived my beloved. If I could take it all away I would, but I can’t. Instead I offer my patience, acceptance and my heart for you to break, and yes it will happen. I am prepared. Know there is nothing you will ever say to make me love you less. You could try and you will, but there is nothing you will do that will change the way I see you…my daughter, my sweet love.

The road will seem long, and it’s okay to feel cheated. The days may seem unending. Know this now and forever, I am here, right here.

 

Good Morning to You!!

Good morning minions! The birds are chirping, the kids are sleeping….I know, miracles do happen! Anyway, hello followers!! I’m so excited that you think what I’m writing is of value. I’d love to get to know each of you if that’s ok. I love love love learning about people. My days are spent at home raising kids, so to communicate with adults…yippee!

I’m going to start. Bragging, bitching, broken heart ramblings are all allowed. If you don’t know who you are tell me who you’d like to be! There’s no judgement here. I just want to know you. 💜

Ok…..
I’ve been given the nickname Bits, so that’s what I’ll call myself. I’m a stay home mom. We have three kids that are all grown up and moved out, and four kids at home ranging in ages still-wearing-diapers baby to wrecking-ball teenager. I am a step-parent of our two oldest, but in my heart there isn’t a damn bit of difference. I try to let my kids be what I wasn’t allowed to be…individual, unique. Don’t worry! Not in a Will and Jada sorta way. I just don’t force them to be blonde if they want to be a red head, or violin when they want to run. I’ve been a mom my entire adult life, and when they’re all grown up I will be completely lost in this world! We are transplants to the Midwest from the Pacific Northwest. And no, there are no real mountains here. All trails lead to home so here is where we stayed. I have anxiety, as do two of our kids. Their idea not mine I swear. I’ve been married almost 14 years. Miraculous. My husband is an infantryman, Army. No longer chasing bad guys in foreign lands, he fishes, chases our tiny ranger. He’s got two brand new shiny knees and is the biggest smart ass EVER. He does Facebook…which is on my ‘I hate that shit’ list. He’s my big, cuddly, funny kid. We have two dogs, Moe is our ever present guard on duty, while freckles is well, freckles. Puppy, chewy, naughty, so very loving. I have early onset macular degeneration but I still have eyes in the back of my head so it’s all good! I would love to have more tattoos, but alas, we have kids that need to eat. I have a nose ring, ear piercings and purple hair. I LOVE my purple hair. I am unique, might as well let my social awkwardness fly freely!!! I love writing, coloring, hiking…and back in the day I loved to ski. Now, aware of the danger I avoid it…and there’s no mountains here! Damn it! My favorite painter is Vermeer. I despise selfie sticks. They are all that’s wrong with the world. I curse, which I hate, but try not to. I have a love hate relationship with being at home all day. Mainly because I have no life of my own. While speaking to adults I often use words like ‘tummy’ or ‘ouchie’ or ‘poo poo’…because it’s what I say all day long. I hate spiders. I love to garden. Growing the things that we can sit around and eat together is great therapy! I am a Christian. God has brought me out of more than I will ever say here and now, but rest assured I would not be alive if it were not for His Love and Grace. I don’t push my faith on others, rather choosing my life as an example of who He is. Hence ‘little bit of heaven’…there is always a lesson that can help someone.

I’m not cool and don’t care, but because I can and will..it’s your turn brave followers.
*Mic drop*

Love Matters

 

Gia ónoma tou Theoú…

 

The ability to see beyond our own lives, and reach out to those who need to be seen, no matter our own struggles is such an integral part of what makes humans, well, human. It is also one of the most healing things to do. It is agape love, biblical if you believe, and at the very least inspiring if you do not.

Love, as with our personalities, lives, unique abilities, cannot be contained or simply placed in one category.

As a small child I was raised attending church and often there more than just Sunday morning. All the different churches we attended taught the importance of accepting, loving, passing it on. (Accepting that Jesus died on a cross for us, was risen to fulfill Gods plan for him, us, the world…and to love others as He loves us.)

‘A man makes plans with his heart, but the Lord guides his steps’ (Proverbs 16:9) is one of, if not the most life altering reading in the bible I have ever come across. I will admit that I have not memorized the bible cover to cover, but I have read it, and some of it many many times. There was a period that I literally fell asleep with my arms wrapped around His word. It is the reason I’m still married, and the reason I forgive myself and others, why I am alive.

As human beings we are often fickle with love, and in a society that has become so narcissistic, all too often use the word and minimize, trivialize its value. Love.

The biblical or ‘agape’ love is what holds society together, and once it dwindles war breaks out, our neighbors sue us, our employers hire cheaper labor that’s inept and our children grow up to be mindless drones who do nothing for their fellow man. People go hungry, homeless, and forgotten. The intimate, ‘philia’ love is found in life long friendships, the bond between men who fight for our freedom and what causes them to never leave a man behind. Our philia love is what, as mothers, We should strive to have with our children. Without it, our lives are without a sense community, our child without intimacy and a sense of deep belonging that will center them. ‘Ludas’ and ‘eros’ love (some say the two are very different, I beg to differ) is what gives us courage to take risks with those we fancy, if you will. We ask for the dance, a hand in marriage, brings our sensual desires to verbalization and sexual fantasies to fruition. Without this love, our courtships would be many, and our desire to receive or show passion would disappear. Our ‘pragma’ love is the ‘forever and ever’ love. It is the matured, time consuming love. Found in people who have been together for years, and is practiced and not just simply ‘there’ for the taking/giving. It is selfless, much like agape love, but harder to achieve with the day to day activities, mountains and valleys of our lives, and the lives of our children. Pragma love is also the most rewarding. It is the tie that binds us, keeps us from walking away. Last, and for myself the least…’philautia’ love is to love yourself. Not to be mistaken with being a narcissist, it is vital to our mental well being and an integral part of how we feel that others view us. For myself, the biggest hurdle in my faith is to love myself, and more importantly not rely on others to do it for me. Philautia is what happens when one looks in the mirror and says ‘BEAUTIFUL’ no matter the hour, income, relationship woes, anxieties. There is no place for a broken mirror in philautia love.

Why the break down you ask? Because it’s crucial to know love, and knowledge is understanding. Our hearts, our love, guide most things women say, do, act out. And that’s wonderful, if you know who’s guiding you.

As a Christian I choose to believe, because that’s a key point of my faith, that God guides me. He guides me by being my starting point and who I look to for love when I can’t find it, feel it, see it. For though I may make plans for my heart, He is there first, to make sure my walk is not at a painful price, to carry me when I can’t take one more step. How you ask? The Word of God.

The bible is not just fire and brimstone, nor is it sin, forgive, sin, blessings, sin, heaven. It is a map to being a person Who FEELS worthy of each and every love. It’s a walk filled with compassion. (If you read the bible and all you feel is guilt, I’ve been there. Guilt is not from God. Forgive yourself, as God did before you even asked.) Jesus came to live out a life as we do now to be able to say ‘I feel you, I have been you and I love you.’ That sense of worth comes from understanding and accepting God created you. He didn’t just snap a finger, do a dance and you appeared. He took a piece of himself, his love and devotion TO YOU, and molded it into this amazing, one of a kind beautiful woman or man, and blessed you. Your uniqueness (or what can make us feel different, and not in a good way) is what He loves most, and if you let Him, will use to change lives.

So you see, in our humanness our love falters, as can our devotion. Gods love doesn’t end because we stop reading our bibles, don’t attend church twice a week. He loves us so much, and was so certain that would never change, he gave us Jesus. He allowed His son to die for our sins. I can tell you that I wouldn’t do that for you, myself, my husband, no one. He sent Jesus to heal the sick, not the well. If you struggle with illness, whether mental or physical, He came for you, was sent for you. For it is the least of these that shall inherit the Kingdom of God. Why again you ask? Because He is devoted to us, loves us. God LOVES you, as a father, friend, physician, the creator of your heart. He loves you. Pass it on. 💜