War without Guidance

Today was the final day in a 40 day long bible plan that I have been doing with a good friend. There was a passage that really hit me. Along with some words in the devotional. These words were put before me today for a reason, I know that.

“Surround me with wise godly friends and mentors who are committed to give me truth with grace.” This is EXACTLY what I need.  The scripture said that victory depends on having many advisors.  We do not always know what is best and what is right.  So, then we have to be willing to listen to others and not constantly shoot down their thoughts and ideas for helping.

I don’t believe that I am the only one who can benefit from these words. The day to day struggles of life right now. The absolutes, the if your right I am wrong or vice versa.

When did it become an all or nothing? When did we become so perfect that we were unwilling to see that someone else may think, do or believe differently? Instead of being open to learning from others we shut them down and tell them they are misunderstanding. Different does not have to be mutually exclusive with wrong. However, putting up blinders and believeing your way is the only way…now that, that will lead you down a dangerous path.

Back to Therapy #40in2020

Almost 5 years ago now, I went to therapy for the first time. I was self destructing and I needed some help. After some guidance from my husband, I decided to take the leap. This continued for over a year until we moved. Everything felt much better and I didn’t seek out a new therapist.

Fast forward to the pandemic. Stay at home orders, being out of a job, home with the kids all day every day and trying to piece together 3 months of a school year so that my children don’t fall behind. All day, every day me and my youngest son are together.

I crave social interactions. I love talking with others, I love seeing people smile and I love giving hugs. I am really struggling without these things.

Now, talk about all of the things that have had to be canceled, postponed or heavily readjusted due to the pandemic and varying rules. Trying to make everyone happy, when you are a blended family that is planning a graduation. Being a part of it, without feeling like you are putting a damper on the entire situation. Making a plan that is inclusive, not exclusive.

Anyway, I can see my anxiety getting out of control. When I am just standing in the living room talking to my husband and my heart feels like it is going to fly out of my chest, that is a big clue. I am not even in the moment that is giving me the anxiety and I feel flush and tense.

After too many moments like that, I decided to do some therapy research on Monday. It is probably time for me to get back to it. I had heard a lot about online therapy since the pandemic started. This seemed like a good place to start. Being that I am, like I mentioned before, with my youngest all day every day. So, making an appointment and getting out of the house would prove quite difficult right now.

I landed on a site that sounded good, with a fee that seemed reasonable. I filled out all my intake forms and it said I would be matched with a provider based off of my answers. Communication started pretty instantly. I can message 24/7. The sessions can be done via video chat, phone call or live chat. So, whatever your situation you can make reasonable accommodations to make one of these fit into your life.

I had my first session yesterday and it went really well. We wrote out some goals, wrote down some triggers and how those manifest in me and I was given homework for our next session. I will be meeting with him again next Tuesday.

I love talking to my husband about everything. Though, I sit in my house all day waiting to talk to an adult. When he is out in the world at work every day. Bombarding him with all of my stuff that I have been thinking about when he arrives home, is probably a bit too much. Not that he doesn’t want to help. Just that he needs some time to decompress, while I am looking to him because he is the only grown up that I get to see everyday.

Now, I have a therapist again. Someone else that can help me right now when I have thoughts that need navigating. The goal is to “figure out how others can help me without feeling like they can’t win.” We will get there!

Fruit of the Spirit #40in2020

When we are lucky. We get wise as we get older.

We allow life to pull us out of some of our comfortable ways and easy choices. Our eyes are more open to new ideas, thoughts and adventures.

What we just have to be sure of, is that our heart stays on the right course. Allowing fear or complacency to hold us where we are at, or act in a irresponsible way is foolish.

The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. Are we stopping to ask ourselves if what we are doing is acting within thise guides?

I find myself seeing an old camp song to check myself. It is silly, but it works. Helps me to keep my goals and the way I care for others at the forefront of my mind.

As I am now 48 days away from 40, self control has been at the top of that list. While being home in this pandemic it could be easier to allow myself to fall down a hole of binge eatting and stagnance. Instead, I have continued to draw motivation from virtual challenges and pool wear.

We can find ways to do whay we want. Even when things are so completely difficult. When everything is unknown and media is calling you to choose sides and trying to suck you into a vortex of hate and shame choose kindness, goodness and gentleness. Choose self control when thinking about if you are going to engage and how that would help the situation.

Keep your eyes open to see how you can find yourself being a fruit of the spirit.

Who knows what the “right” answer is?

I am a rule follower! It is important to me to do what I want, but within guidelines set out for me.

You tell me to stay home, then I will stay home. You start opening up places with precautionary measures set into place, I will give it a try.

I have only gone grocery shopping at one place for the last 4 weeks. A place where everyone is masked and I watch an employee clean the cart before I take it. Before that, I was getting my groceries delivered with porch drop off.

We have gone to the zoo 3 times since they opened back up. Requiring masks to walk around. Perhaps, unnecessary, but since we don’t really know I am happy to oblige.

Yesterday we went to the city pool that just opened this week. Requiring reservations, all chairs 6ft apart and masks required as you check-in and go to common areas. I was anxious, but my children were excited, so we decided to give it a try.

Families stayed in clumps. No one moved their chairs from the tape marking indicating where 6ft apart was. Everyone that came in wore a mask until they got to the area their family claimed for their 2 hour block. We did it. We felt safe and felt like those around us were adhering to the rules put into place.

I don’t know what the “right” thing to do is. I am trying my best to stay safe, follow the rules and give my children a little bit of a normal summer.

Good Day

Almost exactly 3 years ago now a friend of mine passed on. A friend who was like 35 years older than me.

I had grown up in church with him as a leader. He lead us in Sunday school, in youth groups and in mission trips.

Jim was one of a kind. My heart still hurts to talk to him one last time.

Whenever I see a cardinal, I am convinced that it is him and I’ll have chat. This morning the quote from my gratitude app reminded me of him instantly. He use to always say “It’s a good day, to have a good day.”

Happy Wednesday

Self Care #40in2020

Today I should be at the zoo with my youngest. Unfortunately, he had a rough morning and we stayed home. I look forward to getting outside of this house and being in the world.

Doing things beyond these four walls is part of my self care. Since we ended up having to stay home, I had to take a different approach. I am sitting watching the Bachelor: The Greatest Season Ever and reading Little Fires Everywhere. Getting lost in some fiction.

This comes after going outside. Listening to a podcast, getting some sunshine and exercise. Cleaning up the yard, trimming hedges and watering flowers. All activities for my self care.

Even though today didn’t go as I had planned. Heck the last 3 months haven’t and I think it is safe to say that the next 3 months will not either. I can still find things to do to take care of myself so the day doesn’t continue to spiral.

Last day of school!

This week we have had locker cleanouts, parking lot drive ups and our final google meets.

My kids have seemed to weather this all better than me. Last night as I watched my 7th grader walk into his school alone, with a mask on to empty his locker, I had tears rolling down my face.

Today, sitting on the couch with my youngest…I said well, now you are a third grader. He smiled and said he knew. I then found myseld tear up and say, “I am sorry this year was so weird.” It’s OK Mom.

Is it, is it ok? It doesn’t feel ok. All the things that all my children missed out on. That all the students missed out on.

I am so super proud of my kids. They powered through, they stay committed and it absolutely showed. They tried their best in this crazy situation.

They will all move onto the next grade. Hopefully, sometime in the coming year they will find themselves roaming the halls and smiling with their classmates. I can only hope for the future, but to dwell too much on it will simply make me miss out on the here and now.

These past few months have changed all of us. We will make these next couple months look as much like a summer vacation as possible. There will be love and laughter and lots of quality time together!

Guilty By Association

I feel a deep dark sadness. A sadness I believe that I would have felt no matter what. Though, is ultimately amplified by this pandemic.

An overwhelming feeling of loneliness that has been washed over me for 3 months now. It is now worsened by the grief that I feel for the community. A community that I am a part of, even if I do not believe I myself have sinned.

What difference does it make if I haven’t taken a strong stance on the other side? Our city, the city that I grew up in and then moved back to raise my family in is known for being racist.

I literally never knew that and I feel sorrow for that. I didn’t know, because that is a privilege that I have. It makes me sick to my stomach.

Deep down I believe that my community is good. I believe the majority of all people are good. That more often than not, the 10% give the rest of us a bad name.

Though I myself may not have sinned. Being a part of a larger community that builds walls and barriers, makes me guilty. I pray that this is the start of something greater and something more meaningful. A movement of recognition. Saying, I see you and you matter.

69 days until the big 4-0

I have written about my gray hair before, but I wanted to broach the subject again.

I have dark brown hair. I absolutely love my hair. In my teens, I wanted hints of red. I used shampoos that were meant to add color.

In my college years, I thought I wanted a richer brown color, a chestnut(ish) shade. Then at about 22 I died my hair for the last time.

I picked a color in a box that I thought was stunning. It looked great and I was happy. Well, you know what happened as it started to grow out?? You could barely tell. Other than the natural highlights within my own hair, the shade itself had little to no noticeable difference.

That was when I decided I would not dye my hair again. For some reason I thought a color on a box was better than what I was given. It wasn’t, not to me. I chose to embrace the natural color of my hair forevermore.

About 7 or 8 years ago now, I started noticing gray hairs. More and more of them on the top of my head. Under where I naturally part my hair, so not a big deal at all. As time went on, more gray (white) more hairs are visible.

As Quarantine started, nearly every single person I talked to started focusing on when they’d be able to make it to a salon. How would they color their hair and cover up those grays?

Well, turns out I have practicing for Quarantine for 17 years. Loving my hair as it is. Knowing that the color of my hair has nothing to do with my age. That how old I look has nothing to do with the color of my hair.

I have lived a life. A life with ups and downs, twists and turns, highs and lows. A life with marriage, divorce and marriage again. Kids, parents, friends, church and school. I have lived a life and my gray hair tells my story. A story that I embrace and am not at all afraid to show the world!

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