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FAMILY/ Kids/Family/ Leaving A Legacy/ Parenting

Create a Meaningful Family Night to Spark Conversation with Change-Maker Teens

teen girl sitting in a wicker swing chair

Thank you Allstate for sponsoring this post. I chose to write this post because doing good in local communities is at Allstate’s core.

We recently had a simple and meaningful family night thanks to Allstate. They released a video that showed an example of how the core of who they are is dedicated to the communities where they live and work.

It is the perfect example of how Allstate believes that young people are not waiting for change to happen in their communities but they’re creating it! I couldn’t wait to share it with my family.

My hope was that it would spark some great conversation as we gathered our 3 teen girls (and a sweet boyfriend that belongs to one of them) to spend some family time around the table and discuss something that truly matters.

 

table with succulent puzzle and snacks for family night

Creating Space for Conversation with Change Maker Teens

It only takes a little thought and preparation to create space for meaningful conversation. It is ok to keep family night super simple, and it doesn’t have to last for hours.

With teens and their schedules, sometimes you take what you can get, and it can look imperfect. That is ok! Just be purposeful in creating the space, and flexible with how it turns out.

Like most teens, my girls love snacks, so I drew them to the table with food! Snacks are a sure way to go to get teens’ attention, especially when presented in a tasteful way!

I lit a candle to create cozy hygge for our little family gathering. I texted (because what better way to communicate with teens) my family earlier in the day, and let them know I wanted to come around the table that evening for a bit and had a video that I wanted to share.

 

allstate video on a screen and a candle

 

I made sure to mention the video was only a little over 3 minutes long and that I wanted to get their thoughts on it. Teens like to know what to expect.

They saw me setting up the snacks and my oldest, Teagan, threw a pizza in the oven. I’m still healing from surgery and had a few setbacks in healing, so I appreciated the ease of pizza for dinner.

My girls have been working on a puzzle, and I just kept it out at the table and set the snacks around it.

Food and a puzzle are both great items to encourage lingering and good conversation, but the video is what sparked the conversation. Thank you, Allstate.

 

young teen girl in a field

 

Young People Creating Change

Allstate believes in youth empowerment and is inspiring people all around the country to do good in their local communities.

My husband Todd and I could not agree more. We have always believed that young people have the capacity to change the world in a positive way and make a difference.

We have encouraged our girls from a young age to influence the world around them by using their gifts, strengths, talents, interests, and abilities.

Allstate looks to inspire the next generation by using community projects that empower young people to become change-makers and a generation of leaders, and it is beautifully portrayed in the video.

I was eager to see my family’s reaction to the video and hear their thoughts. I knew my Todd would relate so much to the beauty in the video, as his life work is serving young people in our community.

We ate our pizza on paper plates and dimmed the lights as I played the video for them on my Kindle Fire.

 

Watch this video to learn more about what Allstate is doing in local communities!

After the video, I asked them what they thought of the word “Change-Maker.” I asked them if they were on the bus that was in the video, driving through their community, and looking out the window…what kind of change would they be inspired to make?

I also asked them if time and school did not get in the way, how would they want to make a difference in our community?

I loved their answers. I loved seeing their wheels turning as they thought about it, and it delighted me how their answers were so fitting to their interests, talents, personalities and life stories.

 

young teen girl senior picture

 

Our oldest is always drawn to kids and has volunteered faithfully every Sunday teaching little ones in our community.

She is pursuing a career in the medical field and said she would want to serve sick kids, and make a difference in their world by “creating fun DIY or craft projects according to their unique abilities” Her heart is to bring them joy while they heal.

Her boyfriend communicated that he is already enjoying the work he is doing in the community…he is a volunteer reading tutor and also is a mentor for a younger boy.

His tutoring takes him into schools and he expressed a heart for kids who not only have reading struggles, but also behavior issues. He started brainstorming ways to change this.

He expressed that he wishes each kid would really know the ‘why’ behind everything they do in education and believes that it would be a game changer for many students.

My middle girl has always had a heart for special needs children. Even at a young age, she was aware of the kids whose needs were different.

She expressed a desire to help students in our community who not only were special needs but also students who have been bullied.

My youngest is a soccer player and has talked of wanting to be a volunteer soccer trainer for younger kids, so that was her answer. She has been a young change-maker at our church by watching toddlers so parents can be a part of the service, and her face lights up when she talks about young kids.

 

succulent puzzle on a table

 

Our girls wanted to know our answers, too.

My heart is being pulled more and more toward those that have had cancer and serve them in some capacity.

I am very familiar with the cancer world as I have experienced it myself, as have 3 of my closest friends and many of my acquaintances. I want to make a difference and am excited to see what more I can do locally, with some plans already on the horizon!

Todd said he is already doing his dream community work. His dream is for every young person to be a thriving reader in our city, and he runs an in-school reading program that teaches kids to read.

Tutors rotate inside of the schools, meeting one-on-one with the students, which gives the teachers much-needed support. It is a beautiful thing and I am a proud wife!

My husband loved the video and said that Allstate uses an approach called “appreciative inquiry” which he likes very much.

He said “instead of focusing on what is broken in a community and trying to fix it, they focused instead on dreaming about what it would look like to build a thriving community. They asked the kids in the video ’what does a thriving community look like‘ and then allowed them to dream up an answer.”

 

good hands good heart on a screen

 

“Good Hearts, Good Hands℠” with Allstate

When I think of Allstate, I love what they are about, and how they believe the future is bright. I wholeheartedly agree and have such confidence in our young people.

Allstate believes youth making change builds social and emotional learning skills and life skills — like teamwork, problem-solving & empathy. These skills help ensure their future success. We as parents have seen this first hand.

Our girls have good hearts, and it is a joy to watch them follow those good hearts and work with their hands, to tangibly serve and care about those around them in our community.

Here is the beautiful thing:

The character and skills our oldest learned from serving not only helped others but came right back around to her.

She has a full ride to college due to scholarships earned by her character, as her leadership and community service was recognized and rewarded by some amazing local businesses who get what it means to invest in young people.

We are so thankful and proud that we can call all three of our girls change-makers in this world!

Not only can we say that about our own girls, but the underprivileged youth my husband serves at his workplace are some of the biggest and most amazing dreamers and change-makers we know!

Yes, the future is bright!

 

puzzle and snacks on a table

 

Tips For a Successful Family Night with Change-Maker Teens

1. Keep it simple, simple, simple. Utilize convenience items like paper plates.

2. Be purposeful. Have a time together that has meaning. The Allstate video I showed our girls did this for us in such a simple way, and can do it for you too! I want to challenge you to use it to gather your people together and show them the video. It is such a great tool to spark conversation and inspire the whole family.

3. Use food! Entice those teens, but keep that simple too. Order pizza. Throw some store-bought cookie dough into the oven. Set out some clementines and bananas so they can help themselves to fruit…gotta keep those change-makers nourished! Chips and salsa, popcorn and nuts are all easy things to grab and set out for munching.

4. Communicate. Teens want to know what to expect. I texted my girls and asked them what their schedules were, and let them know I’d like to have a family night gathered around the table with some food. I also let them know I wanted their thoughts on a 3-minute video that I would be sharing.

5. Respect what is going on in their world and keep it short if needed. Even 30 minutes of quality time as a family is better than none! Teens are so busy these days with school, jobs, sports, activities…and serving their communities! My girls have finals week this week so I reassured them our family time did not have to last all night, and that I would respect their time.

6. Create an atmosphere. I lit a candle, put snacks out on display, and made sure the area was picked up and felt comfortable. I always have blankets sitting around for added comfort. The puzzle was out to keep hands busy and bodies lingering. You could even have one of your teen’s playlists as background music. Cater to what they might like.

7. Let go of perfection. Even the most amazing change-maker teens can be moody. If there is grumbling about coming together, don’t let it throw you and don’t react to it. Keep things light and positive. If they don’t feel like sharing, then share your own heart and thoughts with them. They ingest more than you think.

8. Ask them questions. Right after I showed the video, I turned the light back on and immediately asked them some simple questions and the conversation was off and running.

9. Encourage your teens. Young people are amazing. They have good hearts and capable hands. Take a minute to tell them the good you see in them, how happy you are to spend time with them as a family. Make sure they know you see how capable they are in making a difference in their communities with their #GoodHeartsGoodHands

 

This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.

Cancer Journey/ HEALTH/ Love

My Cancer World and Be The Match

My Cancer World & Be The Match | #Join4Kami

I am in the cancer world. I am a two-time survivor, take medication everyday to help keep cancer at bay, and question every ache and pain. I have an Oncologist who tells me this: “give each ache and pain a two-week window. If it lasts longer than two weeks, or you find a lump or bump, come see me.”

I have been in this world for 7 years. It has changed me. I have lived more fully, loved more deeply and know that loss can be right around the corner.

Have you loved someone with cancer? 

Being in this world means meeting others in this world. I am not alone. Oh how I wish my loved ones and I didn’t have this in common. I’m sure you can relate, for who has not been touched by this, with cancer so common?

What can we do with our commonality?

“Cancer is an epidemic.” These words were spoken last week by my very heart friend, the one who talks to me every day and who is texting me this very moment, my phone buzzing at me. She has survived recurrence and spends her days at a non-profit organization that helps women fight this beast. She knows. Her weary words ring true.

My Cancer World & Be The Match | #Join4Kami

How do we fight an epidemic?

My phone buzzes again, a text from another heart friend, so so dear to me. She asks if we can meet Friday morning before she leaves for Houston, gone for at least 3 weeks. This is the place she goes to fight the beast that has shown up for the second time in her delicate neck. How can something so ugly invade such beauty as my friend?

How do we fight the beast?

And then the children.

I remember my brave Lottie Mae, we lost hair together and were on the same schedule of growing it back, the schedule of fighting cancer. I couldn’t fathom her courage or the courage of her parents as she battled leukemia. Lottie’s beautiful red locks are now long, they grew as did she, now a beautiful young lady. Prayer along with the right medical treatment saved her life.

My Cancer World & Be The Match | #Join4Kami

Can I tell you of one more story? 

It is the story of 11-year old Kamryn, another beauty whose life could be saved with the right medical treatment. Watch the video and see courage, light, and life. Even the tears on the cheeks of her Momma are courageous tears, asking others to be the match for her sweet, sick girl. She needs the right medical treatment, but it is on hold, waiting for the right match, a marrow donor.

{Learn more about Kamryn’s story and sign up to join the registry at join4kami.org.}

Can you imagine waiting for others to give?

I can’t imagine having a sick child where there is life-saving treatment but that treatment depends on the giving of others. There are many just like Kamryn who have no donors available.

 AN ANSWER: BE THE MATCH REGISTRY®

A marrow transplant can be a life-saving treatment for more than 70 diseases including leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle-cell. 70% of patients are just like Kamryn and don’t have a fully matched donor in their family.

They depend on Be The Match. This is an answer! We can be available.

Be The Match Registry® is the world’s largest and diverse donor registry, but there are still thousands of patients who don’t have a match.

All it takes to join the registry is a simple cheek swab. It is mailed to you, you swab, then mail it back.

How amazing would it be to know that you helped cure someone’s cancer? Blood cancers can be cured with the help of bone marrow donation. Becoming a donor is something we can do to fight the beast of cancer and many other diseases.

My Cancer World & Be The Match | #Join4Kami

Can you commit to becoming a donor?

Donating is a lot less painful than one might think. Most donate through a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell donation where a machine draws blood from one arm, extracts the cells it needs and returns the remaining blood back to your body through your other arm. Donors are fully awake for this procedure. Lives are saved with this cell extraction.

For some people, the doctor will need to extract marrow directly from the back of the pelvic bone with a needle. In this case, one receives anesthesia, feels no pain during the procedure, and most donors feel completely recovered within a few weeks. This is a sacrificial act, but a small one for the chance to save a life.

Can you help spread the word?

I know I am not alone in watching loved ones fight cancer. I know the whole world has seen and felt the sting of this beast.

We can help others who are waiting. We can reach out our hands, hearts and arms to others who need a life line.

Visit Be The Match. Make a commitment and get on the registry. Spread the word. Every person who joins the registry gives patients like Kamryn more hope of finding the match they need.

Help beat the beast. Be The Match.

A Way to help loved ones with cancer

{Help spread the word by pinning above image}

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 

Emotional Health/ FAMILY/ HEALTH/ Spiritual

Help in Suffering

Help in Suffering

“God, I look to you, Your where my help comes from.”

God I Look to You, Bethel Music

 

I listen to this song and it takes me back as often songs do.

A slight ache starts in my inmost being and I remember that time of desperation.

I listened to this song and my soul cried desperately to you.

 

 

You came.

You were there.

You saw.

You hid me under the shadow of your gentle wings. I was covered, hand-held. Never alone.

 

You held and helped me in my suffering.

 

God you reign and so does your timing.

I cried out for you to take it away.

Your timing was not what I desired, but I held on because I was held.

 

I trusted you and you showed me that you are safe,

you’re worthy of my belief,

your plans better and bigger than mine.

 

God I looked to you.

You were and are where my help comes from.

You gave me wisdom and showed me what to do

 

You led me right to  Psalms and to

the right book

the right therapist,

the right medical doctor

and the right medication.

 

lift-eyes-to-hills

 

You made my path straight

You brought healing in your time.

You lifted me out of the muck and mire and set my feet firm.

 

Lord, I still need you.

When I cannot stand, help me fall on you.

When I stumble catch me, turn my eyes and face to you.

Help me to keep looking up at you.

 

I will love you all my days.

You have become so very real to me, especially in the trials this life brings.

 

You have not left me alone.

Forever all my days, I will praise you!

 


The time of suffering I mentioned above was when I was in the thick of anxiety. If you are in a season of suffering, hold on! Look to God. He promises to never leave or forsake His children. He is with you and will get your through.

HEALTH/ Spiritual

Enter Into Others’ Suffering

ali-art-2

If you do this, this entering into suffering with others, you might just glimpse a joy unspeakable. This has been my experience. There is so much suffering on this earth. I ask God to help me see those who walk through suffering and love them well.

He has allowed me to enter into stories of suffering and I see what a gift this can be, not just for them but for me. I come away from these interactions changed.

I go to encourage, and walk away encouraged. 

img_1997

Let me tell you about my friend Ali:

A young mom, we met at a conference for cancer survivors, the two youngest in the room.

Our eyes meet and she comes straight to the empty seat next to me, which was my hope. She is all beauty and bright-eyed. Her sense of style is effortless and spot on, her hair regrowing is a pixie cut perfect for her face shape, and her smile the best of accessories.

Our hearts connect, she invites me to her home and introduces me to her man and her two littles with cherub faces. Dare I say some of the cutest I’ve seen?

We eat greens and drink kombucha and talk all things cancer and life. We just get each other, our stories very familiar. That was in the spring.

Late summer her story takes a turn. We meet for coffee she directs my hand to her elegant neck and it looks like I am taking her pulse. It is quite a moment, as I feel her life pulse and what could cause death at the same time. It is cancer in a lymph node, the placement in her neck places her as an automatic stage four.

I write these words and tears fall for my beautiful friend.

But, here is what I see and want the world to see, too.

Her beauty overcomes and shines through and I see peace and joy and she proclaims to me with eyes bright:

“I’m keeping my eyes on Jesus”

I see love. I see Him reflected so clearly in those big beautiful brown eyes.

She is the epitome of grace, courage, hope, trust, joy and all things lovely. Despite an automatic stage 4, she shines.

Several days later her text to me:

“I spoke with my Doctor”

“She said median survival for my stage 4 cancer is 2 years.”

“I plan on much longer than that”

She meets with doctors and loved ones and forms a plan, walking in trust that the God she loves holds and directs her path.

She is choosing a path less traveled, one that will bring toxicity and hopeful healing and she walks bravely forward right into it. This road leads to Houston, months away from her littles, (3 years old and 5 years old) and all that is familiar. This is the road that we pray will provide her with the “much longer than that.”

ali-family

In the meantime, God is providing all that she needs. She lives this and proclaims it.

She invites me to Houston and I go, and spend 4 precious and some of my most favorite of days there. I write a bit about that trip here, and share a beautiful breakfast recipe that my Ali lovingly made for me while I was there. This early morning act of service for me is just one tangible example of how entering into someones suffering brings blessing beyond. The recipe is amazing, but the memory of being served by her in the midst of her hardship, the morning of her chemo treatment, is the most precious of memories. Such a sweet gift, one of so many that Ali has given me by just being who she is.

Enter into others suffering. Gifts will abound, you will give, and will be astonished at all that will be given back to you.


Update: Ali is back from Houston and reunited with her littles and husband. She will have ongoing treatment here and periodic trips back to Houston. If you are a praying person, will you add her to your list?

ali-art

Ali is also an accomplished artist, and the above piece is her work.

Visit Alison Rash to see more.

FAMILY/ Love

To Be a Part Of Love Winning

ORLANDO-UNITED-LOVE-WINS

Love wins.

I tell myself this as I am distressed and stressed, tears stream down while I try to type words and a pit in my stomach all of this day long.

The day after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S history.

I think of those who died, many who were so young, scared, texting their Mama’s knowing they were going to die, just to say I love you one more time.

It could have been my loved one, texting me one last time, hostage in a bathroom, knowing they were going to die.

I don’t know much, but I do know this one thing and I grasp hard onto it, clinging even as my stomach tightens.  I know this.

Love wins.

In the end, love wins.  Evil loses.

I type that and I have to stop, eyes clinch shut tight and lump in my throat comes up and erupts and I wipe the overflow and my heart feels like it is breaking and I wonder again about those Mama’s whose hearts are in pieces over last texts.

I remember.

I remember when another massacre happened, the Von Maur shooting, the day my little sister once again became my hero. She was working there that day. She knows what it is to hear shots that make your heart stop and race simultaneously. She knows how everything stops but it doesn’t and you have to act and you just do, you just act and react. She gathered customers into a storage closet and hid and acted heroic. I think of the many who acted heroic in Orlando yesterday that did or didn’t have the same outcome as my sister. She ended that day thinking of a precious man whose smile & greeting met her that morning and most workday mornings, who even at that hour was lying at the bottom of the escalator, a smile and greeting snuffed out by evil. She mourns and then heals. She believes that evil does not win.

Love wins.

I remember that day, being ushered to a room where families wait. Some had news, some didn’t. Some were in the middle of receiving the worst news possible. I remember a woman eyes wild, clinging to my arm, begging me to tell her if her own sister was ok. Had I heard? I had no answers for her, just eye contact & a connection. We were two wondering about our sisters, mine lived hers didn’t. The next time I saw this dear woman was on the news, walking behind a casket, her sister’s funeral televised. I think about how without deep love there is not deep mourning. I think about how very, very deep her love was as her shoulders shook while walking behind a casket.

Last night I needed to write articles but my thoughts were low and words would not come so I turn on Netflix to pick up where I left off. I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy, old seasons that I had stopped watching back in the day when hospitals & trauma became a very real part of my life. I am six years out and blessed enough to be able to watch once again. I press play and it is an episode about a mass shooting and I watch actors dressed as nurses and doctors playing a horror that nurses and doctors in Orlando just lived out in early morning hours. I thought how they continue to live it even now as day 2 and day 3 are often critical after surgery. My mind can’t wrap around what I’m watching– that it is real in Orlando and I think about pushing pause, but I keep watching, because I want to feel, I want to be a part of love winning.

Love Wins.

I wake up today and read the names & look at faces. I go about my day with names and faces in my mind & carry them in my heart as I grocery shop & do the mundane. I slight smile at mangos that are just ripe enough at a great price & marvel at the sweet scent of a pineapple not yet broken into. I try to find joy in the mundane despite a heavy heart, for this is another way for love to win. Evil will not steal our joy, hope, smiles or sweet scented moments of life. Even if those moments are memories.

Mid-day I look for more faces to go with the names, because love remembers. Love mourns with those who mourn.

I watch to let others’ pain sink in, to join in their pain and know how to pray, to let it in deep and I think…would I be faithful in prayer without pain?  I want to feel others pain. I want to have ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart that cares enough to stop for a moment and just listen and absorb, to mourn with and feel with. I want to enter into pain with others because this is what love does.

Evil creates pain.

Love enters into the pain.

Love wins.

Music Renews/ Spiritual

I Am A Sinner If It’s Not One Thing It’s Another

 IF-ITS-NOT-ONE-THING-ITS-ANOTHER“‘Cause I am a sinner ~ If it’s not one thing it’s another ~ Caught up in words ~ Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior ~ And You take brokenness aside ~ And make it beautiful” –ALL SONS & DAUGHTERS

…………

I sit in church, feeling numb from the weekend.  It was a rough one.  I felt on edge, worried, moody, & not myself.  I have not had these feelings for a long while now, and I did not like experiencing them for one day, much less going on day three.  I felt it building each day and I wonder where it came from and what would come of it.

What came of it? A teenager who is moody herself– acting fairly normal for a teen– was rude and I reacted. I lost patience and words came and frustrations spewed out and over onto my girl, lecturing, accusing & pointing fault.

I watch my words not only cause her to shut off and go into her room, but I see a shut down in my Todd.  Usually when shut down happens in him, I feel hurt and uncared for. This time, I saw pain. He went inward and I saw pain in his eyes –my eyes were opened to see his– I saw his eyes reflecting pain from my words and actions not just of today, but of the past. Today hurts him deep due to history of hurt. I am faced with my history of emotional words that hurt, I then shut down and feel myself spiral inward.

Shame. Guilt. Thoughts go dark. I cause pain. Now and before. I wallow in past failures & wonder how is it that I am loved? Doubt creeps in & the enemy cozy’s up and keeps planting bits of lies here and there.

I struggled quiet, until Sunday when we gather together at church and we sing two songs and the pastor preaches words from the book of Samuel.  I confess I see the message is from Samuel and I inward eye roll as I don’t think I will receive what my heart is longing for.

You know what? I don’t know much. God knows everything. He knew exactly the words my hurting heart & shadowed thinking needed to hear. Our pastor is anointed and brings the Word so faithfully.  Some of his favorite words are spoken in almost every message.

“God lavishes his grace on us”

“Get out of the dark room.  Run into the Light Room”

These words and visuals have saved me more than once from the Accuser.

And then this verse– from of all books– the book of Samuel:

“Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile. For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way. Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭12:20-24‬ ‭NASB‬‬ (emphasis mine)

 

Words of truth from my pastor, God & Samuel straight to my heart.  Take THAT Accuser.  I find myself turning toward the Light room.

We then sing this song & I confess with its words and my toes that step into the light room & light starts shining bright.  My feet walk toward the front steps of the altar–toward forgiveness– with a card in hand. We were encouraged to write on the card that which needs left in the past. I write my emotions, literally, I write down my emotions or really my lack of control over my emotions that have brought me down that weekend and in the past. I leave them and the card at the cross.

Brokenness Aside

{Brokenness Aside by All Sons & Daughters}

Will your grace run out
If I let you down
‘Cause all I know
Is how to run
‘Cause I am a sinner
If it’s not one thing it’s another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful
Beautiful
Will You call me child
When I tell you lies
‘Cause all I know
Is how to cry
‘Cause I am a sinner
If it’s not one thing it’s another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful
Beautiful
You make it beautiful
You make it beautiful
[x2]‘Cause I am a sinner
If it’s not one thing it’s another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful
Beautiful

I am a sinner
If it’s not one thing it’s another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies, oh yeah
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful
Beautiful
[x2]

You make it beautiful
Beautiful
You make it beautiful
Beautiful

You make it beautiful
You make it beautiful
[x4]

We sing this song & I soak it in. I’ve kept singing it all these days.

Church service lets out and I go straight to week 2 of a teen parenting class. Light continues to brighten my path in that room of wonderful, wise parents trying to do their best but feel overwhelmed, and in one big voice we agree just how hard parenting teens can be.  It normalizes my struggle, shows me I am not alone, shows me my girls are inward and outward beautiful and I have not failed them. I leave with feeling empowered and ready to love well.

The week starts and by the end of day 3 of dreary grey days, my heart is feeling shadowed again. Despite my wonderful Sunday, grey Monday comes and so does words of criticism and accusation, but this time they are from myself at myself.

I just couldn’t shake the shame I felt. It is hard to go so long without falling into a place you don’t want to go, and then go there and have to face it again. It allows one to see more clearly when it is no longer a habit, and I clearly saw pain that I brought to my loved ones. I wallowed in it, & was quiet and inward, until the evening of the third day. I finally talked to the man who has loved me for 20 years and knows me better than anyone.

Continue Reading…

5 Minute Fridays/ Spiritual

Trust & A Health Update

PROVERBS-3-5-TRUST

Participating in  5 Minute Fridays. 5 minutes to write about one word. Unedited.
This week’s word: TRUST
………………..
GO:

My last health update was last May, and I was in searching for answers for an extreme nausea that I had been experiencing for weeks.

20 pounds lost, watching the scale go down brought on such fear and anxiety.

A summer full of tests & more tests, still no answers.

No sign of cancer brought some relief to my fear, but unknowns still abound–yet I will trust.

I went off cancer meds, thinking they were the culprit, but they were not.  Adjusting to going off of them & then back on was — an adjustment. Chemical menopause, then not paused, then chemical menopause once again brought more than pause, it stopped me in my tracks.  There were many days of crying out to God in despair.  I wanted answers. I wanted normal. I wanted to be able to feel well again & write well again, instead of forcing yet another recipe post.

I am feeling better and finding my normal.  Anti-anxiety medication seems to be the answer I needed to bring back normal, for cancer meds don’t just steal my hormones but what seemed to be the whole of who I am.

The nausea still lingers in the mornings, but yet another medication has taken the severity of it away and I am able to eat again and my weight has stabilized. I am so. very. thankful.  A bit of weight has been gained, & so has my trust.

God was near this past year. I have been running hard to Him in the hard moments, for hard moments turn to precious in His presence. It is in these hard life moments when desperation gives no choice but search His words for help and hope, & He is always there, saying “Trust.”

STOP.

…………….

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