Friday, October 27, 2017

Of bluntness and misunderstandings

Once again I'm tossing and turning in my bed and I can't seem to sleep.  And here I am at my keyboard desperate to get the hurt and frustration out.  I find solace in writing.  I can express myself and be real and people don't have to agree, but I can have a valid opinion because I'm just writing.  I usually don't have a argument or real huge point to get across.  My writing is usually just a jumble of my heart put into words.   

The cycle of how I am perceived continues.  My whole life I have been the person who speaks too bluntly and then hurts people's feelings and then I have to humble myself and work through how I was experienced by the other person.  Sometimes it ends well.  Sometimes not so well.

When I was a little girl, I was asked to leave a home school group because I was just too blunt.  In another home school group, instead of working out the problems, a family left because of me.  My best friends in 5th grade ganged up on me during a school carnival to tell me how much they didn't like me and how I needed to act different-- that was the last time I spent any time with those girls.  In 7th grade my new best friend and I had a falling out because I was too aggressive-- I vividly remember sitting in my bedroom and talking it through with both of our moms.  It was the first time I was able to work through a real difficult situation rather than just separate from whoever was having difficulty with me.  (She is still my closest sister friend; the lifelong person who I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, has my back.)  In the early years of marriage, when I was working in youth ministry, two leaders invited me to have coffee and then picked me apart for my passion that was perceived as aggression -- so much so that I fled from the house sobbing and never worked with youth again.  Those stories are just a few, I have had people misunderstand my motives my whole life.

The catch to all this is, so often people will say to me that they are so refreshed at my truth, my ability to not hold back, my honesty.  The same people that have complimented me, have turned around and told me how I am too blunt, brash, hurtful, not caring, don't have a heart...  you get the picture.

The thing is, I'm in process.  As a little girl, I sure wish the other parent's would have used those moments to help me grow.  As a 5th grader, I wish the girls would have been nicer and asked for help to work through our issues.  As a young adult, I wish the other leaders would have seen my heart and not attacked me.  As a woman, I wish conflict would be handled thinking the highest and best of me-- to know that I love deeply and have grown so much-- to remember that I have wisdom and I am not shooting my mouth off.

I also know I'm a judger, I don't have a load of grace for myself or for you, and I don't always say things at the best of moments.  And yet, I am miles ahead of where I was when I was younger.  Nate's death brought about so much good in my life-- I love deeper, see the value in people, I do have compassion (believe it or not, but my compassion was about at 1% before Nate died) for other people's life experiences, and to know that just because I feel so strongly about something doesn't make me right; it just makes me have strong feelings.  I do recognize when I am wrong and take accountability for it-- I apologize just in case I've hurt you, your dog, your sister, your husband.  I humble myself and take the hit and usually I don't get a thank you or an apology back and usually that's ok.  More than anything, I love Jesus.  I filter almost everything I do through my relationship with Jesus.  Do I always, no.  Sometimes, it is after I have said or done something, and yet, I still have a heart to grow and to change and to learn.

This boldness I carry sucks.  I wish I could just sit back and watch the world and not say a word.  I wish I was just always warm and friendly and could stay a surface friend-- at least right now I wish it, because it really hurts to feel deeply and be hurt-- it goes that much deeper.  I wish that even though I am bold, people understood that my feelings matter too.  I get hurt.  I spend days crying when there is a crack in a friendship.  I carry the emotions on my face, my heart, my hands.

Edit: I have had reconciliation with the two youth worker ladies I mentioned-- it took a few years, but we have had an understanding of hearts and we love each other. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Changing Season

Life is changing again.  It always seems to do that once I'm quite comfortable.  We have two kids in school this year.  I can't hardly believe it!  My baby is going to be in afternoon kindergarten.  It reminds me that there is a season for everything-- our toddler season is done.  We have two kids now.  Wow, weird to say that!!  I'm so excited to send them both off into school this year.  I know my son will take care of my daughter and I know this will be a monumental year for our family.  I can just feel it.

I had intended to work this year and start to be a productive and earning member of our family, but that hasn't worked out.  So, I'm going to relax and enjoy the season of having a few hours every afternoon to myself.  I have been dealing with chronic fatigue for a while now and I have gotten some very good solutions from the 5th doctor I went to and I am starting to actually feel alive again-- I don't have to drink 3 cups of espresso first thing in the morning anymore!! I am actually sleeping through the night!!  I've been told that maybe just maybe my body will now start to lose weight as the issues I've been having have inhibited me from that.  But, honestly, if I don't, I'll be happy to just be able to make it through each day without feeling like I need a nap or an espresso or both.

While my children are growing and learning all the things they need, I'm going to do a few things! First is self care.  I'm going to start going to yoga again.  I'm going to nap if I need to.  I'm going to create-- art, write, sew.

I'm going to be purposeful with my time.  I want to have coffee dates with friends every day all day long, but that leaves me tired, feeling like I haven't accomplished anything, and usually I don't have dinner even thought of!  So, I'm going to give myself a schedule and stick to it.  I love hanging with friends, but not if I can't do all thing I need to do for my family.  I need to give them my first.

I'm going to clean.  I mean, I'm going to take each room and deep clean it.  I'm going to scrub grout, wash walls, get those dust bunnies and cob webs from summer-- I'm going to make sure this house actually looks the way I want it to!  I use to be a really awesome housekeeper-- that is before I had a million things to do and kids to mess it up.  I know I still have a million things to do and kids to mess it up, but those precious hours everyday are going to go a long way for me to have some sanity and some dust free living.  But, really, I'm not going to do this until it is probably October-- let's not get too crazy too soon!

Really though, I want to enjoy this new season.  I know I could be sad that Amelia is growing (and a part of me is)-- what I really want is to be happy with her-- that she gets to go and do this new thing.  She's a big kid now.  I'm happy for her.  I'm happy our family has survived this thing call life.  I am glad we can be together and be happy.  I can't wait to find out what it is to be a person again and not just a stay at home mom.  These last 10 years have been so rewarding and so rich and I wouldn't trade it for the world, and I am tired, I'm ready to feel like a woman again and not just a caretaker.

So, here's to the next chapter in life called Elementary school!    

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas Time again

It's been a little over a month and things have been easier and harder in different ways.  I really have been held up by my friends and family and getting through the first holiday of the season was way less difficult than I had expected.  It is never easy to be apart during culturally designated family times, but it was nice to spend time together with my mom and dad, kids, new sister and family friends.

Now enter Christmas time.  I really have been dreading it.  Since last year was full of expectation of Caleb coming home right before Christmas, we tried to save things for once he got home and cram a whole holiday season into just 5 days.  This year he's really and truly gone for the whole holiday season and so we put up the tree without him, have listened to copious amounts of Christmas music without him, bought and wrapped gifts alone, and I have spent many a night sitting in my bed watching stupid Christmas movies all the while alone (or mostly alone, Amelia sure hasn't figure out how to actually go to bed without getting up about 15 times).  It's snowing and I am shoveling the drive (or Cole) and lighting the fire in the fireplace.

I am a little overwhelmed with the financial difficulty of living on such a smaller budget-- all the while knowing that Christmas is partly about giving gifts and not knowing where we are going to come up with the money to cover those gifts. A check from a dear family friend/Uncle comes in the mail and whoosh, Christmas is paid for.

I fell last week and hurt my foot, and after hearing that I have had chronic heel pain, my dad paid for me to get my foot adjusted (fixed) and get orthotics for inside my shoes-- and guess what, not only is the injury better, but my feet DON'T hurt.  They have hurt for years and most of the time I've had to sleep with them elevated and my heels not touching anything to have relief-- then I hobble out of bed every morning.  All of those issue are going away!!!!

Last weekend, while I'm paying the bills, I realize that I had forgotten to tithe last month-- the tithing thing-- a necessary discipline of Christian living. To give God our first fruits is something we have done our whole marriage and it is just usually something I do right away, but for some reason I pushed it off, and I realized I needed to make up a lot of giving.  So, mortgage and tithe were the Dec 1 paycheck.  But then, a letter from the Power Company saying a large credit has been placed on our account from another Uncle.

My sister (in law) came to me and said we have an ipad you can have for the kids-- and you know what, it's not even an old one!

Then to top off the month, each and every day I've been getting a surprise on my doorstep as an advent calendar-- and I'm not talking about little stuff-- today I got a beautiful floral arrangement in an awesome tea/coffee pot (and I collect those, so these Christmas elves sure do know their stuff).

Every time I think I just don't know if I can survive another day by myself with the hole of loneliness growing ever larger, God shows up through people in amazing ways.  I am fully taken care of and it is so good to see.  The community of people who love me and have carried me in all ways-- emotionally, financially, babysitting, making me meals, inviting me over to hang out, pouring me a glass of wine or beer, bringing me coffee...  the list can go on and on.  I am blessed.  I am honored to live among such people.

I knew I wanted to make Christmas special for Caleb and by asking our family, he's going to be getting care packages from all over the country-- what an amazing way to love me by loving him-- I often forget that he's just as lonely as I am and by giving him a little holiday cheer, it'll keep him going!!

For the actual Christmas weekend, we are going to a cabin and there's going to be lots of joy because my brother is going to be home.  If I can't have my hubby, I am happy to have my brother.

So, I guess this is the check in-- I'm doing well.  I have a gnawing loneliness that won't go away until Caleb is home and next to me, but I'm OK.  I'm not self sufficient-- I need those around me to help carry me and how thankful I am that I am being carried.

PS I am really excited to start getting a normal paycheck again...  I guess I didn't realize how well we were paid until we have had to live on less.  Also, it's been good to learn to live on less-- even if it is slightly stressful at times!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Thankfulness

So I don't feel like being thankful.  Lately I have been sinking.  I can feel it.  I know when things just aren't right and I know how I act and I know what I do.  I don't have a lot of self care going right now and that needs to change.  I am going to take baths (even if I feel like a giant squeezed into a tiny doll tub) and I'm going to use those birthday gift cards for massages, and I'm going to paint, because honestly feel like bitching and complaining and giving in to the frustration of this season of life and that would translate into mass amounts of tv and sleeping every moment I can, and taking care of kids needs but not their hearts.  I do however know that while that makes me feel better to give in to the darkness for about 32 seconds, it's not beneficial to me or anyone I am spewing my sadness all over...  so I am going to be thankful AND I'm going to give myself a bed time.

November is all about warm apple cider, celebrating our vets, the crisp smell of fallen leaves, rain storms at night, the giggles of kids splashing in puddles or jumping in piles of leaves.  It's about Thanksgiving-- the meal, the family time, the parade, the mulled wine, the puzzles or games.  It is a terrific time of year and it really is one of my favorites.  I love being outside in summer, but something happens when it's cool and brisk and I can see all the colors of the season from my sun room, yet I can be cozy under a blanket.  There's something magic about being cozy and reading a book or sipping on coffee from the comfort of my house.  I think I also just really love the permission to sit around and be cozy that Autumn affords to me.

So, I am going to be thankful. I am going to relish all the really wonderful things about my life and do my best at taking care of the daily grind items without a huge complaint.  I want to be a person who sees beauty in life.

I also know I've been needy and I hate having to ask for help, but as I sense myself slipping into the darkness, I realize I need some extra prayers and some extra help.  I am overwhelmed with the yard and I am overwhelmed with my fall house cleaning-- you know the extra stuff that has to get done before winter really hits.  If you want to help me, I'll be doing a big push at fall yard clean up on November 19 from 1-4 and would love help.  I will need help with raking, putting yard stuff away, cleaning up my garden, cleaning the gutters, pruning my giant vines and small maple tree in the front yard.  I have some rakes and I'll have bags, but I don't have anything to prune trees with.  If anyone else would like to come and help me dust, do baseboards, deep clean bathrooms, wash summer hand prints off walls and windows, I would gladly appreciate the help.  I feel like I should be able to do it all and it's really hard to realize that I am just not there.  I just can't.  If I spend all my energy on the tasks I know I won't have anything to give to my kids who are struggling so much with their dad being away.

So, there you have it.  I am being vulnerable in a way that is hard for me.  Thanks for reading and thanks for continuing on in the journey with me.  Life is beautiful even when it seems hard to get through each moment.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The stuff is falling apart

So the thing about this time away from Caleb is that the different things in my life feel the weakness...  like the electronics (the computer decided to give me a horrible blue screen of death and it won't work at all anymore and the bluray player won't play blurays anymore) and the washing machine (won't go from the wash cycle to the rinse cycle unless I open the lid and slam it down again) and the door bell (which technically broke while Caleb was here, but as he didn't get around to fixing it, it's mine to figure out) and the dog (who is chewing up everything again-- she's almost 1, what the heck!), and the car (the battery died and I can't get it out of the garage to jump it on my own)....  I wonder what the next thing will be, because there will be a next thing.  I know it.  It's like the law, if the man is gone, the stuff breaks or doesn't work or freaks out.

Tomorrow's to do: call every bill we have and try to find the user names and passwords (and hope they're not just in Caleb's name, because even though we are married and I just want to pay the dang bills, they probably won't let me), take the car battery out of the car and take it to the battery shop and re-charge it, take the computer into Best Buy and get the pictures that weren't saved put onto the external hard drive, go to a soccer game, get a huge coffee, cry a little, break up fights between the dog and the girl, the girl and the boy and the boy and the neighbor kids (because let's face it, my kids like to fight), look at my house and wonder if it really needs to be cleaned, because for heaven's sake, it's just going to get messy again, and cleaning for just 3 people isn't really worth it. Then, after all that, I'll probably try to do something that looks like food making (but, honestly, it'll be pot pies or corn dogs or dino chicken nuggets-- we've got options around here), then I'll try to convince my kids that bathing is really a good thing, we will all try to go to sleep alone, but then I'll end up having one or both kids sleeping next to me and I'll think to myself, one more day done.

Happy weekend everyone.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Rainy Evening

So I've been hoping for the weather to change for the past few weeks.  I think it feels like Caleb will be home sooner if we have fall weather-- it just means that there is one less season between us.  Anyways, today it feels like fall arrived.  The first trees to turn have become all sorts of oranges and yellows.  The air carries a frosty feel in the morning and while Jack has yet to visit, I'm sure he'll be here soon making all the grass blades white and the windshield need a scrape.  I love the cool night air and warmish afternoon-- making it almost impossible to decide clothing for the whole day-- so I guess I get to wear a couple of outfits.  Fine by me.  It's the walking weather where you don't sweat, soccer games on Saturdays, and no need to run the heater or the a/c.  It's the magical time of year where you can be lazy and not feel too bad, because if it's raining, the best way to enjoy is by sitting with a cup of tea and a good book all while snuggled into a nice warm blanket.  Also, the grass still needs to be watered, but when it rains in the fall, that chore is done by God.  I usually lament the end of summer.  I usually feel a sad melancholy at the end of a nice warm season-- but not this year.  This year I am looking forward to each new red leaf, each harvest party, pumpkin everything, and all things fall.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How rich I am

Today is special for me. It is my birthday. I know everyone gets one each year and to each person, those birthdays are special. I hope I am able to make other people feel special on their birthdays the way I have been hugely blessed today on my birthday.

I was feeling bummed out that for the second year in a row my husband is gone over my birthday. It just feels like insult to injury when we have to do another special day without him. He's already missed so much this year-- our anniversary, the end of summer, the kid's first day of school-- and all the little things, like 3 lost teeth, a burst ear drum, camping trip in McCall, bbqs, ever growing children. In all, he will miss a lot more-- many growth spurts, lots of sick-children-sleepless-nights, the last years of toddlerhood, 2 Thanksgivings, Christmas, New Years, season changes... Well, you get the idea. A lot of things happens when you're gone from your house for 11ish months out of 24. Today was something I was dreading. I'm usually stoked about my birthday. I love to celebrate, but there's just something sad to me about celebrating when my partner isn't there.

My village rallied.

First thing this morning, my daughter got up to find me and in her sleepy, messy hair, pj voice said, 'happy birthday, momma.' My son made me coffee and gave me not only his hand made gift, but $2 in quarters, and 2 pieces of gum. He also wrapped gifts from Caleb and had them all ready for me when I went into the kitchen. My mom made today so extraordinarily special. I don't even know how to say thank you. Caleb sent me gifts that spanned the whole day and ended with a dozen long stem red roses. My girlfriends shared a much needed girls night out full of popcorn, laughter, almazing food, drinks, and cheesecake. I got notes and gifts from the heart.

I am going to bed alone again, but my heart is so full. I feel so cared for and loved. I am so thankful for the people in my life.

When I was a child, making friends was so difficult for me. Mom and I prayed that God would bring friends into my life. I know He is still answering that prayer, as the relationship I have are so life giving. I may live in a small green house, drive older cars, and live on a budget, but I am truly rich.