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Month: April 2010

“As someone told me lately, Everyone deserves the chance to fly”- On Moving Forward

“As someone told me lately, Everyone deserves the chance to fly”- On Moving Forward

There are times in life when circumstances back  you into a corner.  Times when those you trust betray you and those you have come to rely on turn their back on you.  It is in those times you find the people in your life who truly do have your back.  The people who genuinely care. You can see through the masks that people wear and into the reality of their hearts.  The truth of the matter is at those times, it can break you.  It can take you and slam you down with a force you didn’t know existed in your world.  At those times when you have felt abandoned and all alone you should look around through your tears and see who and what truly matters in your life.  The sad fact is most of those times come at a high price and with great pain. It is a bit like hitting rock bottom in addiction.  There is no where to turn and no where to go but up.  But the beauty of it is when you stop and look around– feeling in your heart that without a doubt that you are standing alone– you see the people in your life who genuinely care about you and love you.  Those are the true people in your life  you can depend on, trust and open  your heart to when you are at your weakest.  Those are the people who will hold your hand when  you need it.  The people who will love you unconditionally and stand beside you to weather the storms of life.  The reality is you probably are not as alone as you thought you were.   You just weren’t looking in the right places.

For many of us a time has come or will come when your circumstances or the people you have chosen to surround yourself with will bring you to your knees, break your heart or back you into a corner where you can see no way out.  Rather than focusing on the pain or the intense feelings of loneliness and anger you are bound to feel, take a good look at who is still standing with you.  Take a really good look.  Those are the people you want in your corner.  Those are the people whose opinions and truth you want to rely on at that time.  Those people who are ready, willing and able to drop everything to see you through the hardest of times– those are the people who do truly care and support you.  The ones who are willing to give you the benefit of the doubt through your successes and failures.

Now, I am not saying that the other people who choose to turn away are people not worthy of your time, your prayers or your friendship.  But those are not the people you should depend on to make your life choices or help you through the tough times.  Those are not the people you need to depend on in a time of pain. They are merely people who have been brought into your life for a reason and a season.  They  have brought a life lesson with them.  They have brought to you something you can take away.  They are no less important in the grand scheme of things.   They are your life teachers.  Sometimes they are gentle and kind teachers who come and go from your life and bless with you with what they have brought to you.  Sometimes there are those people whose lessons are brutal and painful.  And sometimes those lessons are ones that you would never learn if it were not for the suffering they bring to you.  They are just as important to your growth as a person as the people in your life that you know will never abandon you, abuse you or leave you when things get rough.  They serve as a catalyst for a life lesson.  People that somewhere deep inside- when you can think clearly through the pain or anger- that have led you to the path you should take or off of the one that will destroy your very soul.

My Mom always said life isn’t fair.  And it isn’t.  However, when the chips are down and you find out who stands with you, supports you and will be there for you, you should be thankful.  Just as you should be thankful for the ones who broke your heart.  Not in the same way, yet nevertheless their importance should not be diminished because you are hurt.

So what do you do in those times when  you are broken and beaten down?  You reach up, take the hand (or hands) that are offered, stand up, brush yourself off and move forward.  Hopefully you’ll find yourself a better person for the life lesson they have brought. Even if they were brought to you at a great cost or with pain.

This week I learned many lessons.  Some that had me in tears of pain for days.  Some that have me in tears of extreme gratitude.  And some that just opened my eyes in general to the reality– and not the perceived reality– but the actual reality of  people, situations and circumstances I have allowed into my life that are toxic to me and my family.  For that, I am truly thankful for those people and situations.  They brought with them a lesson for a season.  A lesson of fire and pain but a lesson that I can not only carry with me but use to help and guide others when I see them go down a similar path.  It is an opportunity to share my experiences with others and let them know they are not alone when they find themselves beaten down and broken.  I’ve learned our experiences are not for nothing.  They are not trivial.  We have not suffered them in vain.

I suppose what I am saying is that you should not regret the decisions you have made and the people you have had in your life.  If your lesson has been learned and those people are truly there only for a season and simply for a single reason, you will find peace in moving forward.  You will have learned what you needed to learn and the loss, though it can be painful, has served its purpose.  Yes, even those who break  your heart.  There is a reason and a lesson. When you learn it, you will grow, be stronger and see things much clearer as you let them go.

But never, ever forget to take the time to thank those who are there for the good and the bad.  The ones who stand with you when you succeed and when you fail.  I am talking about the people who will always stand beside you and support you and will be honest with you from their heart and from a place of love because those are the people you can always be free to hand over your heart to and know that it will be cherished and not broken.  Just remember to thank those people in your life who are truly and genuinely there for you.  They are your blessings.  They are your true gifts in life.  Blessings to lean on through your sufferings and to cheer with you through your celebrations.  And in return, you will grow with them and be able to hold their heart in your hands and cherish it and take care of it with gentle hands just as they have done for you.

Lessons are learned.

Seasons change.

And people leave.

Those who don’t turn their backs and walk away…well, count  your blessings.  Never take them for granted. I know I never will again.  For I am blessed.  Broken hearted but full of peace for I know now without any doubt in my mind, I do not and never will stand alone.

With the help of those friends standing with me…

It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!

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Are You Smarter Than an 8th Grader? The Homeschool Edition!

Are You Smarter Than an 8th Grader? The Homeschool Edition!

When my husband and I decided to have children, we discussed many things we knew we would face.  We came to a few agreements and knew that by making some concessions here and there and meeting each other at least half-way, we knew we would be healthy, happy parents.

For example, we agreed that for us we should probably wait at least five years until we tried to have our first child.

Brandon was born three years after we were married.

We agreed that we should probably have an even number of children since we both grew up in families with three kids and we knew someone would be set apart. (Clint for being 15  years younger than his next older brother and me because I was the unexpected baby.)  I felt strongly about this.  I thought even numbers would even things out.

We have three kids.

We talked about working outside the home or being a stay at home mom and decided I should be a stay at home mom while the kids were young and as soon as they were all in school, I would go to work full time.

I haven’t worked outside the home in 17 years.  I do, however, work full time as a volunteer as the PTA president.

And for the love of all things educational, I promised I would never homeschool our kids. (Seeing as we wanted to give them the best chance at being well educated and I knew I would fall short if I were to homeschool them.  I know myself.  I have nothing against it but it was something I was dead set against doing myself.)

Z is now being homeschooled.

Yes, you read that correctly.  I am the PTA president at one kid’s school while I homeschool another. I am a contradiction of myself.

It started a month or so into school.  Z was just not feeling well.  To me he looked pale and he was complaining of dizziness often.  He started missing more and more school.  For weeks I would take him to school and within 45 minutes, the nurse would call me telling me he needed to come home.  One time it was dizziness another his oxygen levels was too low etc etc.  It got to the point where I would drop him off, go get a coffee and then return to the school in time to pick him up (knowing the nurse would call).

Of course even with the nurse sending him home I still had the dean calling, sending letters and threatening truancy court. (I will go with Stupid School Contradictions for $500, Alex.)

Finally, late in October I got a call from an administrator at Z’s school.  She told me that he was stable, but they had to call 911 for him.

This is where I pause while you imagine getting that call from your kid’s school.

I got to his school in record time.  Driving up and seeing an ambulance and firetruck at the school entrance and knowing it was for my child was terrifying.  When I got to him, he was surrounded by paramedics, had an IV and looked paler than I have ever seen him.  Riding in the ambulance to the hospital was a ride I will not soon forget.

It was in that week that I realized how many specialists I was going to have to see to figure out what was going on as well as how ridiculous it was to continually get phone calls from the school about him not being there yet knowing it was not safe to send him until we figured things out.

I pulled him out of school the next week.  It was then that we entered the empowering yet intimidating world of homeschooling.  Empowering because we- as his parents- get to decide what is best for him as far as his health is concerned and not fear the sword of truancy falling on our heads.  Intimidating because HELLO, I am so not smarter than an 8th grader.  How in the world could I ever teach him all he needed to know?  How could I ever give him the tools he needs to be successful?  What have I done?

And yet, we persist.  We push forward.  We make it work for us.  Right now Z is currently take his CBE’s to see where we really need to be focusing on.  (CBE stands for credit by examination.)  Oh, look!  I got to use homeschool speak on my blog. Totally a foreign language.  They should offer it as an elective in schools. (See what I did there? *snort*)

So basically, to sum it up:  We broke most of the parenting agreements we set forth before having kids within 3 years. (I guess it is a good thing we didn’t have ‘promise to obey‘ in our wedding vows or all hell would break loose.)

And?  I am doing two things I promised myself I would never do: homeschool one of my children and become a PTA mom– especially not the president.  (Folks, Stepford shudders at that last statement. Trust me!)

And there is my life. Just one huge contradiction after another.   I also agreed that I would become a good homemaker and cook.  Yeah.  It’s a good thing the mind goes after nearly 20 years of marriage or Clint might actually catch on to the fact that I really didn’t know what I was talking about when I was a young, new bride and agreed to all of this.  What did I know? (Very little!)

Like my Mom always told me: Never say never. (Which never made sense until I became old enough for my nevers to come back and bite me in the arse!)

Is this thing on? Am I at the right reunion?

Is this thing on? Am I at the right reunion?

Have you ever been to your class reunion and looked around thinking:

1) How have they done so much in the same amount of time that I have done so little?


2) Why do these people look so young and I feel so old…Oh crap! I am in the wrong room! This is a 10 year reunion and OMG I am so not going to fit in here! Do I leave or just hang out and fake it?

Or even:

3) What if the don’t remember me?  What if who I was and who I am now don’t fit in with my friends? Have I been so bad at keeping in touch that I am irrelevant and only made the list because ‘Hey, we have to invite everyone!’

Okay, maybe that isn’t the best analogy but it is how I feel about coming back to regular blogging.  You see, I have been out of the game so long it feels weird just jumping in with a “Hey, y’all!” but at the same time, I miss blogging regularly.  I miss the friendships that I have built.  I miss the amazing feedback.  I miss just coming here for fun and blogging and keeping it real.  Here in my home I created 7 years ago. My online home.  I’ve missed it.

I did what I promised myself I never would.  I stopped blogging and let myself be censored by the people around me.  I have always said and still stand behind the fact that I won’t say anything on my blog I won’t say to someone’s face.  That will always be true.  It’s just that the world has become a lot smaller.

There are people in my everyday life who would like nothing more than to see me screw up.  I know more about the people around me and things they say than I let on.  And out of fear of being too real, too raw or too open, I have in effect allowed those people to muzzle me.

Not anymore.

I have too many things to share.  I love my blogging too much.  I have made too many amazing connections.  I won’t let anyone take that away from me.

So, here I am.  Ready. Real. And Raw.  Think you can handle it? If not, just move along so that the rest of us can enjoy ourselves and I can get back to the business of being me.

To quote one of my favorite authors and philosophical gurus, Dr. Seuss:

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Wishing my dragon princess a happy birthday

Wishing my dragon princess a happy birthday

Today my daughter turned 9 years old.   Somehow 9 seems so much older than 8.  She is my cuddle bug, my angel, my sweet princess.  She is the dream I had and was told would never come true.  She is the girl we were told would never survive full term and would not be born alive.  She is my miracle.  Having her in my life makes thing brighter, funnier and filled with more unicorns and magical dragons than I ever knew existed.

I was never much of a girly girl who played with dolls and Barbies.  I was more into GI Joe and kickball.  She teaches me how to be patient when playing dolls and that Sleeping Beauty was not always an option when playing princesses.  She’s given me a deeper appreciation that the joy of twirling in a new dress can bring.  She’s brought more pink into this home than I ever thought possible and definitely more than I thought I was capable of seeing without losing my mind.  She shows me that girly girl can be fun.  However, she also shows me that princesses can wear tiaras and play in the mud.  That a white dress doesn’t have to stay white if chocolate is involved.  She can rough house with her brothers one minute and snuggle with her Daddy the next.  She is the best of all of us.  She is our dragon full of fire and fight and our princess full of beauty and charm.

Today on her birthday I want to let her know how much she has blessed my life.  I want her to know that every night when she is sleeping I cover her up, brush the hair from her forehead and give her a kiss and thank God that she is mine.   I want her to know that she saved my life by coming into it at just the perfect time when I needed something stronger and deeper than my own will to keep me clean and sober.  I want her to know that every time she laughs, my heart sings.  Every time she cries, my heart breaks.  Every time she takes even the smallest step towards independence, my heart both rejoices and breaks a little.   I want her to know that her dreams are never too big to achieve and her wishes are never too unrealistic to wish them.

But today on her birthday, I will snuggle with her.  I will sing her happy birthday and watch as she blows out her 9 candles.  I will kiss her and tell her I love her and my heart will swell with happiness and pride in my little dragon princess.

Someday she will know all the things I wish she could know about how she blesses me.  But for today, she knows without a doubt that she is loved, cherished and above all the greatest daughter I could ever dream to have.

Happy birthday, my sweet dragon princess.  You are my miracle and you are loved.