Posts Tagged With: peace

searching for grace

One day last week a teacher at school asked me how I knew a particular person. I replied that she’s my aunt. How do you know her?
Her ex husband is besties with my cousin, that aunt’s younger son. And she’s known him since she was a teenager.
The teacher asked quietly if I’d spoken to my aunt or uncle lately.
In all honestly, I hadn’t spoken to them since my dad died in 2014.

(Here’s where a bit of backstory is important…
My dad was adopted when he was five year old.
The family who adopted him also had loads of foster kids.
This aunt is married to one of those foster kids. So even though I’m not blood kin to any of these people, that’s how I was raised. One of the foster kids is my uncle, and his wife my aunt.)

As the teacher and I stood in the hallway at school, she told me that my other cousin and his wife were found in their home, deceased victims of gunshot wounds.

I honestly didn’t know how to feel.

I remember the day he was born.
I was ten.
We were at Grandma’s and my uncle came over to share his joy. His first son had been born early that day. I remember being so excited about a baby cousin! I remember hugging my uncle. I remember joyful tears.

I keep thinking about that baby who became that little boy. Who became that teenager who became that grown man.
How could he be gone?

He’s gone because he found out his wife was seeing another man and he shot her.
Then he shot himself.

I didn’t feel equipped to process this information when I spoke to my uncle. All I could do was tell him I loved him.

I keep coming back to a seeming inability to make sense of it.
I keep thinking I wish my dad was here to talk about it with me.

My heart is hurting.
How much pain exists in one to take a life and then one’s own?
I’m actively working to understand.
I’m expressing love and support to my uncle, aunt and cousin.
I’m not at all judging, I’m simply trying to make sense of it.
I’m searching for grace and hoping my family finds peace in their grief.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

another member joins the adult orphan club

The last couple of weeks have been chaos for our family.
Husband N’s mother died unexpectedly two weeks ago Saturday.
My daughter, her husband, and their daughter were heartbroken.
YBW and I were heartbroken.
I can’t tell you how precious a woman she was or how much she will be missed.
Husband N lost his dad in the mid aughts so he’s recently joined the terrible club of adult orphans.

He’s and only child with an enormous extended family.
Fortunately, the majority of this extended family was able to help and support him as he figured out what he needed to do.
He came to YBW and me for emotional support and guidance.
He and Thing 1 came to YBW and me for practical support and childcare.

My hear hurts for my son in law who lost his own momma. For my daughter who lost a truly wonderful mother in law. For Baby K who lost her Nana.

I could not have asked for a better (other) grandmother with whom to share my granddaughter. Nana was as kind and loving a woman as you’d ever want to meet. She had a childlike sense of joy and saw the good in everyone. She was always eager to share time, stories, photos, and love between herself, Baby K, and me. She never behaved as though she felt a way about Baby K spending more time with us. Even when we were all together and Baby K would sort of default to me and I would encourage her to ask or show or tell or whatever Nana, she never had her feelings hurt.
She was simply joyful to be all together.

I’m grateful my daughter had a mother in law who loved her so completely, who became another momma to her. I’m grateful Baby K had a Nana who loved her so completely. Who was eager and willing to share the grandmother spotlight with such an open heart.

I hope I can provide that same sort of love for Husband N. I’ll never be his Momma, but I can be another momma for him. One that loves him so completely he feels comforted in his loss.

Y’all, my family is hurting.
But we’re figuring it out together.
We have memories and share stories.
We have laughter and tears.
Mostly we have love.

I’d be so grateful if you’d be willing to hold my daughter’s family in your hearts as they find their way grieving, handling the business of death, and adapting to this new way of being.

Categories: death, loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

first night blessings

Hanukkah began at sundown yesterday.
YBW joined me in saying the prayers and lighting the candles.

I love the first night of Hanukkah most of all because of the special prayer said only that night.

Thanks be to you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, for keeping us alive and in good health and for bringing us together.

I’m not actively religious, but I do have beliefs.
Lighting these candles and saying these prayers on the first night of Hanukkah, I feel down deep in me the connection to my ancestors. The ones who lit these candles, and the ones who lit their Advent wreaths.
I’m so grateful that we are alive and in good health and together, especially in this season which I love so dearly.
My wish is all y’all feel it too!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

all Lady Macbeth up in this bitch

Thing 1 and Baby K left and made it safely home Monday. I know they’re happy to be home and with Husband N and the animals, to sleep in their own beds.
And I gotta say, that baby is pretty much all consuming. I’m glad I had babies when I was young. I’m much slower now, and she’s non-stop! But those sweet smiles and waves and kisses are worth every moment of being tired!
I was more sad than I anticipated that night, but Tuesday I was less sad. Missing them, but also kind of pleased to be alone.

Thing G never ever leaves the house, but decided Tuesday to go out into the world. (You do you, kid.)
So I was completely alone in this house.
Did y’all hear my most satisfied “Ahhhh”?

I stripped and remade my bed and the guest bed. Did the dishes, and seven loads of laundry (all those extra sheets and towels, yo).
After that, I opened all the windows, the big garage door, even closets and the pantry and I went systematically through every room burning white sage.

I went all Lady Macbeth up in this bitch, “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!”
This house needed a good smudging. I’m ushering out the chaos and inviting in peace.
And while tensions are high with what’s going on in the world, it seemed a smart choice to facilitate peace where we dwell.
It feels different in here and I like it.

I’m going to wipe down the kitchen and my bathroom and get after my reading.
I’m curious about this book club book, have any of y’all read it?

Hope your Thursday is everything you need it to be.

Categories: around the house, me | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

a long week

This week has been long.
And I mean the kind of long that bites at your soul with a putrid maw full of razor sharp teeth.

One of my colleagues and her family are experiencing horrors no one should have to live through. Their four moth old daughter became inexplicably sick. At the hospital, she went brain dead without warning or reason. She continued breathing on her own, but that only lasted for a precious few hours. She has left us now.
Pain and sorrow are palpable in the school building. You can see it written plainly on the faces of all the adults. There is nothing to say or do to bring their family comfort. All we can do is love them.
We will rally around each other with love and peace, and hope for better days.

But, we are also experiencing joy!
Another colleague just gave birth this week to a precious little girl. Another has a baby is due then end of the month. Another was named Teacher of the Year.

We are a school family.
We look after one another through joys and sorrows. We give each other the high sign when we know it’s about to go sideways with the kids. We celebrate each other’s joys! We have each other’s back when we struggle. We love, and weep, and pray together.
That’s what you do when you’re a family.

This was a long week.
We need a break.
Thank you, Friday for showing up in the nick of time.

Categories: death, loss, love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

I don’t give a f**k who judges me

The post I wrote the other day about managing my expectations seemed to elicit a great deal of response.
And what I love most about that is each one of those thoughts or opinions had kindness at the root.

Most of you were sympathetic but not judgey. I thank you for that.
This blog is filled with my thoughts. My perceptions of my life. I’m never ever going to point a finger and decree that I’m a billion percent right and the other person is a billion percent wrong. That’s not how life works.
I know I’m difficult.
I can be a real dick when I get frustrated.
I have been known to make bad choices in how I behave or react, however the underlying stuff is real.

I want to thank you for your kindness in choosing your words when you shared your thoughts with me. Your words were sympathetic, they came from a place of knowledge of circumstance. For the most part they were not blaming, and some even shared great ideas about how to circumvent the food drama!
I appreciate the positive feedback.

That morning, I got a message from Thing 1 in our group chat saying she’d read the post and wanted to know how I was. It was right as I was getting to work. I thanked her and promised to talk later.
She texted me in the afternoon that the post concerned her and asking how I was.
I assured her I was fine then explained that I was frustrated and being a dick but didn’t feel like I was terribly wrong.
Her response:
“I’m sure you are. And I’m sure you were a dick, but I still feel like Thing G shouldn’t be running the freaking show.”

We talked a great deal about how much growth there’s been.

About how most of the way he behaves isn’t really his fault. He’s adapted to it. I don’t believe there is purpose or malice in his actions. I believe he’s been insulated from being engaged in his life since his diagnosis, and simply doesn’t have the tools.

This is not to say I blame his parents. They did what they had to do to function as a family. They did what they had to do to make sure he was safe to himself and other children. Every family functions differently. And they did what worked for them.
Only now it doesn’t work.
The kid flat refuses to engage in his own life. He simply puts forth the least amount of effort to get by. Sure, that’s teenage behavior, but this is different. Most teens desire to GTFO of their parent’s house. They desire to be in control of their own choices, etc. (As adults we see the ironic hilarity, but we’ve all been there.)
This kid literally wants to eat crackers or ramen, drink soda, and play video games all day every day. My interpretation of that behavior is this is someone who is not engaged in his own life.
That’s cool if that’s your choice. And if you can find a way to eat and drink trash and play video games all day and remain solvent I say, bravo!
But I refuse to sacrifice my own comfort so that he can continue to live the life of Riley.

This kid isn’t actually the problem. The kid is simply the lightning rod of focus for the problem.
As I see it, the problem is that his family sacrificed their own personal comfort for his.
And y’all I get that! What parent or older sibling hasn’t done it!?!?
Though in most families as children age and develop that behavior changes. We expect kids to learn that we all have feelings. Needs. Things that make us comfortable or uncomfortable.
We expect them to respect these things in others.
I know I’m guilty of behaving as though the world revolves around my girls, especially Thing 2.
I own it. I know I do it. I admit I do it.
There are two huge differences.
The first is I don’t expect anyone else to do it.
The second is they’re engaged, and however they struggle, they’re actively participating in their own lives.

Every parent makes sacrifices for their children. That’s part of being a parent.
Older siblings sometimes make sacrifices for their younger siblings, that makes sense, but still doesn’t seem all that acceptable. But I’m the big sister, so I know it just sometimes is.
This becomes a problem when everyone else is expected to behave in the same manner. It’s not other people’s job to put the comfort of someone else’s child, sibling, etc. above their own. And in all honesty, I don’t believe YBW and his family ever consciously expected that behavior from others, and they certainly never verbalized it. I feel like it was and remains very obvious by the way everyone functions.

I don’t think YBW is wrong for wanting to sacrifice for his kid.
I don’t think he’s an an idiot or stupid.
And I will own the fact that I’m judgey as fuck.
Judgey. As. Fuck.
But I don’t judge him for doing what he believes is best for his son. I’ve done what I believed best for my girls, sometimes it worked perfectly, sometimes I cocked it right up.
No one else has been in our hearts, in our families, it isn’t for another to tell anyone how to raise their children.
I’m guilty of pointing out what his kids don’t know. That doesn’t mean I think he failed. It means I don’t understand why they don’t know how to do X. And instead of examining that, YBW thinks I’m saying he failed as a parent.
Dude. We all fail as parents. I just want people to bring in the mail and trash can when they walk right past it every damn day.

What bothers me so much is that he continues to put the desires of that particular kid above everyone else’s. He doesn’t even know he’s doing it. And he sacrifices so much of himself for that kid.
The difference between YBW and me is that I refuse to do it. I will not choose Thing G’s comfort or happiness over my own.
Because I don’t want to. And because it’s not what’s best for any one.
I’m choosing to do what’s best for me.
Just because I don’t like it, or I won’t do it, doesn’t mean I’m judging him for doing it. It just means I won’t make the same behavior choices he makes. My emotional and physical comfort are important in their own right. No more no less than anyone else’s.
And when I see him sacrifice his, I don’t like it because I believe he deserves more. But I can’t make that decision for him. I can only make that decision for myself.

I spent a long time talking with a friend who also has a child diagnosed with autism. Here’s what I see, in their family, it’s just a thing. It means some tweaking here and there. It means she’s (the mom) working hard to meet everyone’s individual needs. But she’s not letting that diagnosis run their lives.
In this family it is everything. And because it is everything all the tweaking must be done around the diagnosed. It means everyone should work hard to meet the diagnosed’s needs. The diagnosis runs all our lives.
This is not the fault of the kid with the diagnosis. It’s not even the fault of his parents. It is simply the way it is.
I don’t choose to function that way.
I don’t choose for my children to be expected to function that way.
I don’t choose people who enter this house to be expected to function that way.

I don’t believe the desires of one should rule the many.
I mean come on! There were revolutions about shit like that.

I love my husband.
Like, in ways that sometimes have no words! I want to be with him in the life we build. And I want to get old with him.
I want him to feel loved. To feel understood. To feel like I’m in it with all I’ve got, not that he’s something I have to endure.
Right now, I think the best way to do that is to be quiet. Just be quiet and do my thing. Just be quiet and let him do his thing. Because clearly talking about it makes me a dick and him a failure.
I want to stop putting each of us through that.

Only this is a conversation worth having, and because we’re in it for the long haul, we have to figure it out how to have it successfully. Last night we talked a little and seemed to get to a place that’s better. So good for us!

I will be the first to admit I want what I want.
But not at the expense of others.
And that is the little nugget of truth I cling to.
Therefore, it seems just that I expect the same from others.

I choose not to live my life for anyone but me.
I believe YBW judges me for it.
I accept that.
I am not ashamed.
I feel no guilt.

I did the hard work of raising my children. I do the hard work of being the mother of adult women.
I did and continue to do the hard work of keeping myself safe and sane.
I do the hard work of marriage to a man I love all the way to Pluto and back.

I’m doing the best I can to live my intention.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians: Do everything in love.
I’m over here working to do everything in love and still have a sense of self.
I own my truth.
I don’t give a fuck who judges me.

Categories: love, me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

please get away from me

My current sentiment regarding other human beings.

I’m over here trying to live my intention.
Buh-bye.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

mizpah

There is a Hebrew word I absolutely adore.
Mizpah.
It means watchtower.
The biblical example comes from the story of Jacob and Laban, after a bit of drama, the men come to an agreement with God as their only witness. They create a tower of stones to symbolize it.
It was also called Mizpah, because he said, May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.
Genesis 31:49 NIV

Of course, mizpah has a more commonly understood meaning.

The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.
Think about that for a moment.
Let it fill you completely.

Mizpah.
A magnificent and sacred blessing. An ancient word of inspiration and protection. A word that goes beyond the boundaries of social and cultural norms, and of faith. A spiritual symbol of hope and love and peace.

Many of the people I love most live far away from me.
Two of them are my babies. Grown ass women, but always my babies.
Time and distance are irrelevant because of mizpah. We are blessed with the knowledge that we are safe and connected when we are apart because of the strength of our love.
Mizpah gives us the opportunity to actively love without constraints of time and distance, and keeps us all anchored in that love until we are fortunate enough to be in the same physical space.

Those of you whom I love so dearly and deeply, this word is my gift to you. The promise that our love will be safe when we’re apart, and the light to guide us back to one another.
Mizpah.

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

apparently, I need to “calm my stress”

At the holistic doctor on Tuesday, “Your adrenals are pissed. You need to calm your stress.”
Um…Ya think?

I’m staying off social media.
I’m not watching the news.
I’m trying not to listen when I overhear folks talking.
This is what I’m doing to calm my stress over the school shooting in Parkland Florida.

It is not lost on me that I spend my days in a public school. In a huge, open room with no safe place to corral children to hide. With doors that do not lock.
Would I do whatever it took to keep these children safe?
Yes.
Would I die for them?
Possibly.
Do I feel like that’s my job?
Hell no.

Do I want to keep the children in my school safe?
Absolutely!
Do I need to give my life to do so?
I’d rather not, thanks.

I’m a mom. I’m a wife. In the Autumn, I’ll be a grandmother. However grown, is it acceptable for my girls to be motherless because I died protecting other peoples children? And YBW? Is it acceptable for him to be a widower before we even gain traction on our greatest life adventure together? And little Shrimpy, the bebe I long to know and love. To teach and learn with. To watch irritate his or her mother and Auntie. Is it acceptable for that child to miss out on what might possibly be the coolest grandmother-grandchild relationship ever?

I carry this in me each day I arrive at my sweet little suburban elementary school. (Which, BTW shares physical campus space with an equally sweet suburban high school.)

Now this concept is always and has always been in the back of my mind. And to be quite honest, I lived through something similar during the sniper attacks in October 2002. Keeping children safe through that was a bit more simple, we just never let them go out of doors. At school, or at home.

Do I honestly believe someone will come into our school and start shooting it up?
No.
Is my concern understandable?
Yes.

And then we had a two day heat wave. And I mean record breaking warm temperatures.
I opened the windows wide!
I let the cruddy stale winter air be replaced by delightful breezy spring air.
We needed the sunlight. (My vitamin D is so low.) We needed the beauty of the past two days.

Of course, we’re not the only house in the neighborhood with windows open. And so it came to pass yesterday from the hours of 3:00 to nearly 8:00 the horrible shouty man screamed obscenities and threats at his wife.
This is not new in our neighborhood. There is long standing knowledge of the chaos that is their relationship. Apparently it isn’t physical, just verbal. She drinks too much and he shouts horrific things at her. He shouts horrific things at her and she drinks too much.
Which came first?
We may never know.

I’ve been anxious and bordering on depressed for a few weeks now, to such degree I’ve begun conversations with YBW about me talking with my doctor regarding mood meds.
I’m dull. I’ve lost my sparkle. I’m sleeping too much. I’m suffering insomnia. I eat nothing. I’m bingeing.
I can’t seem to shake myself loose from it.

It’s partly because of this that what happened to those kids in Parkland feels…more.
It’s partly because of this that the horrible shouty man screaming at his wife on and off for five hours did me in yesterday.

Early on in the afternoon, his shouting made me anxious. I knew it then, but I was busy with laundry, and had the TV on for sound it was easy to not hear his actual words. And somehow that kept me feeling safe in my own house while I could hear him in his. But as it wore on and on I could feel myself flooding with stress hormones.
But then as suddenly as it began, it stopped.

Just as I began to feel comfortable again, YBW came home. Even though I’m struggling, I had momentary joy.

Before long, the shouting started again. Only this time, it was closer.
From what I can deduce, the wife went over to one of the neighbors to get away from him. So when his shouting began again, they were at the house directly behind ours.
I was sitting in my comfy chair right next to the window. I could hear every word.
I was on the computer in the middle of something that I needed to finish immediately. I turned on music to drown out his shouting. I wanted to close the window but I was hot and the breeze felt nice.
As I sat here, I became more stressed and more anxious. Realizing I was feeling fearful in my own house!
My face was hot and my head began to hurt and I forced myself out of the shallow breathing pattern.

When I finally finished my task, I went downstairs. YBW was watching the Olympics. I came into the room and said, “I’m so anxious from listening to him shout for so long.” YBW immediately wrapped his body around mine and held me close and quietly. I actually felt as though I melted into him for a moment. That embrace was powerful enough to calm my body and my spirit. YBW’s love grounded me, and I’m so grateful.

Just writing about this now I’m feeling nearly as anxious as I did yesterday.

The actions of others are impacting me with a greater force than I would like.
Normally I have the skills to fend off these outside influences. I normally repel them with the strength of my character. My strong will, and sense of humor.
Seems I’m tapped out of late.
I seem unable to calm my stress.
I hear Hagrid’s frantic voice in my head, “It was dark times, Harry. Dark times.”

I have an appointment with my therapist.
I have herbs and supplements from the holistic doctor that are meant to aid in improving my sense of emotional well being.
If I can’t seem to shake myself from the place I am, I’ll go my general practitioner and have a conversation to see if spending a bit of time with Wellbutrin might make a difference.

In the meantime, I’m only watching HGTV, Food Network, and the Olympics, and I’ve closed the windows on my computer and my house to help block things that only make me more anxious.
But I left the curtains open to let in the ever helpful and hopeful sunlight.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

love-filled, lemon-scented paradise

Y’all know I am absolutely obsessed with porch life. This spring and summer have afforded me loads of time to spend on the back porch.
Currently it’s just too damn hot to even consider going out there. We hit a heat index of 105 yesterday, and it’s not much less today at 101.

Over the weekend and earlier in the week though, I was out on the porch a great deal.
Monday afternoon I went out with my journal and sat writing for the longest time.

I was having a really lovely day. I was productive and felt fully present in my life. I was truly living my intention that day. And while I was writing, the most amazing (albeit obvious) thing occurred to me.
My love of porch life is me living my intention!
I feel like there should be a great big, “Duh!” at the end of that statement. Only I’m not going to judge it. I’m just embracing the hell out of it.

Little reminders. Little things. Little pleasures. That’s the love.
When I’m writing about how I’m feeling, what I’m thinking, and how it impacts my daily life, I experience the love.
More times than not, it’s about paying attention.
When I’m present in my life, I mean actively living, and open to the world around me, I’m living my intention without even trying.
Enjoying porch life is a way I can express love for myself. It’s a way of living my intention of love for me.
Life on the porch is a peaceful, love-filled, lemon-scented paradise and if that’s not living my intention, I don’t know what could be.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

Starting Over

Because there's never enough time to do it right the first time but there's always enough time to do it over

Stories I've Never Told...

(...and some I have)

A Simpler Way

A Simpler Way to Finance

Faith + Gratitude = Peace + Hope

When I was young my dad would always say, "Crystal, you can choose your attitude." One day I chose to believe him.

debsdespatches.wordpress.com/

Reader, Writer, Photographer, Random Scribbler

Snippets of SnapDragon

Welcome to my cauldron of creative musings, yo.

Encouragement for you!!

Need some encouragement--read this!!

To Write or not to Write and What to Write

#shortstories #thoughts #reflections

Thinker Boy: Blog & Art

by Troy Headrick

Invisibly Me

Live A Visible Life Whatever Your Health

A Teacher's Reflections

Thirty Years of Wonder

Life and Random Thinking

An old dog CAN blog

charles french words reading and writing

An exploration of writing and reading

Young Lion

Life Is All About The View

Sawblades In Your Walkman

effervescing with muchness

History Tech

History, technology, and probably some other stuff

Tales from the mind of Kristian

Visit the darkest crevices of my mind, dare to tread where many fear to go. You may find something interesting or you may find a mirror to your soul.

Writer of Words etc

Words, mostly

walkingtheclouds

where the clouds may lead

Meditations in Motion

Running and life: thoughts from a runner who has been around the block

Bitchin’ in the Kitchen

..because the thoughts that fall, kicking and screaming from my head need a safe place to land..

Finding French Charming

Finding True Love.. Even After Forty

Thought Box

Sweet...Bitter...Happy...Sad...All thoughts trapped in a Box...

M.A. Lossl

An author's life, books, and historical research

Wise & Shine

Understanding ourselves and the world we live in.

Water for Camels

Encouragement and Development for Social Workers and Those with a Mission of Helping Others

%d bloggers like this: