3 ways to build inner StReNgTh

I have been asking myself lately what quality I want to have and work on the most that I don’t already have or one that I need to continue to work on. Yes, I am incredibly honest and I’m engaging, … Continue reading

Stretching 

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters 

1.

I walk down the street. 

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 

I fall in. 

I am lost … 

I am hopeless. 

It isn’t my fault. 

It takes forever to find a way out. 

2.

I walk down the same street. 

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 

I pretend I don’t see it. 

I fall in again. 

I can’t believe I’m in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault. 

It still takes a long time to get out. 

3.

I walk down the same street. 

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 

I see it is there. 

I still fall in … 

it’s a habit. 

My eyes are open. 

I know where I am. 

It is my fault. 

I get out immediately. 

4.

I walk down the same street. 

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 

I walk around it. 

5.

I walk down another street. 

-Portia Nelson

Stretching is getting comfortable with and pushing the edges of something uncomfortable. I’ve recently realized this in an emotional and physical sense. I discovered this because really, in order to grow, you have to push hard enough within and without yourself to be uncomfortable.  You can’t learn if you recoil at the smallest discomfort. 

The challenge is to do this physically first to allow your mind to adapt so that when an uncomfortable feeling hits you emotionally (something that would make you close up or pull back), you will learn to embrace it as a phase and keep pressing on. Life is full of challenging moments and I know often times in my life I’ve taken an easy approach despite my tendency to learn things the hard way.

So start with a physical stretch and when you start to feel uncomfortable, stay there…breathe through the feeling and consider each muscle and fiber or your being and you acquaint yourself to the feeling. Do this more and more and if you are like me and you are building muscle, you do this at the gym by increasing your weights and thus forcing your muscles to tear down. As you lift, slowly, ease into the slow burning and tearing down of your muscle knowing it will be stronger as it builds back up.

I am going through some mentally tough things right now and I despise change…yet it LOVES to seek me out and force me into uncomfortable situations. I want to curl up in a ball and cry, which I often do at first. Then I have learned to resolve to overcome and be a better person despite the new circumstance. 

I hope you find this challenging and enlightening as a first post to my blog in 2018 and in a long time. 

The truth 

Truth is, I’m hurting. I’m grasping for hope. But God gives me peace, When I didn’t ask. That’s how I know He lives. I know what He asked of me, And I walked the path, To help someone… Even though … Continue reading

3 Days and Counting


Some people are uncomfortable with a person who is depressed or see it and don’t hold their hand out. Those of us who are depressed and hurting want to cry with every word you say to us but fear of you ask us if we’re ok, we’ll fall apart in front of you. The pain is in our eyes and our quiet demeanor. You will know it is “that bad” when the usual chatty person is barely heard and escapes quickly to her seat in church, making as little eye contact as possible. When you’re in the midst of depression, you are like a broken vessel smashed to pieces on the floor-there is no magic fix and no way you can just put yourself together without any help. We need you. Just one person is all it may take and maybe one word reminding us we can’t do this but God can. We will grasp at that tiny shred of hope even when we feel like that’s unreal. It may be the one thing that keeps us alive-I’m not actually joking. 

I pray I will never be this person who goes un-noticing  to any of my friends. When you’re in pain (physical or emotional or all of the above), reach out your hand and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even if it’s just something vague. Be real about your pain-someone else has been there, I promise you. 

Thank you to my friends who have been there in my darkest moments. It’s been 3 days…. (Took the picture above during my darkest moment while trying to look “together” on the outside.)

I posted the following to my Facebook page this morning (something that is uncharacteristic of me-I don’t like to air out my filth on Facebook but rather put my prettiest side forward):

“Failure-it’s something I’ve finally come to terms with and have admitted to those closest to me about how I’ve felt for 10 years. I completely broke-to my kids, to myself, to life…and everyone. 

I’m reading through a study called “Working Through Failure” (because after so many failures, I have learned there’s nothing I can do but fail). In my study today, this stuck out to me:

“It’s not human nature to be happy despite our circumstances; we want to be happy because of our circumstances…. In his book, Winning Smart After Losing Big, entrepreneur Rob Stearns echoes this perspective regarding his own failures. Stearns writes that there’s a big difference between experiencing a failure and being a failure: “You are the same person after your loss as you were before your loss.” It is strength of character that enables us to get up and keep moving when we’ve failed.”

The verse that coincides with this thinking is this: 

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:11-13 NLT

http://bible.com/116/php.4.11-13.nlt

Indeed, when everything else in the world fails you and you can’t trust yourself not to fail, that is a great place to be because knowing only One who can intercede in the only thing we need-He is enough. 

A friend reminded me yesterday (you know who you are) that it’s not that God won’t give us more than we can handle-We aren’t supposed to be able to handle it and that’s the point. We need to be able to give our burdens to the only One who is strong enough to carry them.”

“I know where I’m at

I’m standing at the back

And I’m tired of waiting

Waiting here in line, hoping that I’ll find what I’ve been chasing.
I shot for the sky

I’m stuck on the ground

So why do I try, I know I’m gonna fall down

I thought I could fly, so why did I drown?

Never know why it’s coming down, down, down.
Not ready to let go

Cause then I’d never know

What I could be missing

But I’m missing way too much

So when do I give up what I’ve been wishing for.
I shot for the sky

I’m stuck on the ground

So why do I try, I know I’m gonna fall down

I thought I could fly, so why did I drown?

Never know why it’s coming down, down, down.

Oh I am going down, down, down

I can’t find another way around

And I don’t want to hear the sound, of losing what I never found.
I shot for the sky

I’m stuck on the ground

Why do I try, I know I’m gonna fall down

I thought I could fly, so why did I drown?

I’ll never know why it’s coming down, down, down.
I shot for the sky

I’m stuck on the ground

Why do I try, I know I’m gonna fall down

I thought I could fly, so why did I drown?

Oh, it’s coming down, down, down.”

Daily

Every day is a struggle to get out of bed-I’m tired and feel alone. Even if I read a book and some verses, I still feel physically alone. Longing to be told something nice and encouraged by someone I care about or touched in a loving way. I don’t like being negative or feeling sad. No one does. I wonder if I blew my chances and if I’m that unloveable. 

So what gets me out of bed each day when I feel this way? Well other than dogs wanting breakfast, every day for me is a choice. A choice to smile and even if I’m pretending in the outside that everything is wonderful, at least I can try to carry on. Hey, growing up as an mk (missionary kid) teaches you how to have a perfect facade. But inside I’m just clinging to what I know to be true-I know I’m not always a good person, but I’m honest, caring, loving, and not awful to look at, and I’m willing to admit my faults and love someone in spite of any they have. So on the outside, I’ll just “fake it till I make it.” 

And to those who also don’t know this-having fibromyalgia adds a whole new dimension to this. There is pain, insomnia, fatigue, depression, and so much more battling it out that getting up each day, jamming out to loud music and getting ready for the day is a huge feat! I know I’ve fought my fair share of these battles but some days, when feeling defeated, all you want is to hear something positive directed at you. 

I hate being so raw and vulnerable with my readers but my hope is that we can all know we aren’t alone-even when we feel like we are.

“Nathanael”

Recently I wrote about my largest mountain I have ever encountered-the hardest thing in my life.  There is a song I am listening to right now because it brings it all back instantly.  If you’d like to hear, click HERE, (it is a soft rendition of James Taylor’s “Close Your Eyes” or if you want to check out the album that I listened to night and day right after I went through this, it is called “Golden Slumbers, a father’s lullaby”.  I picked it up from the library and my family thought I was crazy but my counselor told me it was a good way to mourn.

This is a heart-wrenching story with a bright ending.  Still makes me cry though because I love my children…each and every one…with ALL that I am.  I would do anything for any of them in an instant.

I lay with my eyes closed, balling like a baby as I held my just-born child-I could feel him, smell him, and hear him breathing.  So real…. And I opened my eyes and there was nothing…. It was the most painful feeling-I can’t even describe.  I had lost babies before-ones that were anywhere from 2 weeks to 4/5 months gestation.  The pain was greater with each miscarriage I had.  The hardest being when I had a dear friend tell me she “knew how I felt” after she had just had an abortion. I couldn’t speak to her for months and she didn’t know why I was so angry.  I wasn’t trying to get pregnant with these babies-I was one of a minority of women who are both incredibly fertile, and yet, had several issues that made it difficult to carry a child.  Each child and each birth was a miracle!  I had four live births out of 10 pregnancies.  (I had a hysterectomy a few years ago due to other issues so I can’t conceive any more).

About 8 years ago, I gave birth to a beautiful little boy, with my mom on my right and my child’s adoptive mother on the left. Each detail is unforgettable to me and I’ve never spoken of it to anyone. It was a troubling time in my life where I couldn’t decide which side of the fence I wanted to commit to staying on.  I loved God but I had felt so betrayed by everything in my life.  Only a month before, I had an argument about my life and trying to change it back around with my older brother, whom I was living with at the time, along with his wife and son.  I was so angry and hurt at the suggestion that I give up MY child inside me for adoption-having carried him by then for 8 months…a long 8 months of hell on earth.  It was a miracle honestly, in and of itself, that he had made it without miscarriage, especially with all the emotional drama in my life at the time.  He was protected…God knew His plan for this child.  I slammed the door to my bedroom yelling behind me “I’m NOT giving him up for adoption, but I’ll pray about it!” (I pretty much screamed this.) And then I went and balled on my bed as I complained to God how awful this idea was.

Somehow, during the night, my heart changed…completely 180.  I woke up and realized my brother was right-this child would be better off with parents (plural) who could care for him and give him a good life-not one with a single mom…conceived out of difficult circumstances.  But then, maybe I would “trick” God…I wanted a whole lot, after all!  A stay at home mom (since I couldn’t be), dad with a good job, mixed races (since he was mixed), Christians…similar to me.  I’m sure there was more, but I can’t recall.  So, I got on the phone with a counselor at the local pregnancy center that had known me since I was born.  She gave me the number of an adoption agency in Tacoma-across the state.

I called and the coordinator just happened to be driving to Spokane at that moment.  She said she could meet me for coffee the next morning.  And while on the phone with her, I got on their website and began browsing profiles, skeptically.  Then I saw them…I asked about this couple and she said she had actually thought of them. They were perfect-exactly what I’d said I wanted for my baby.  Wow!  I balled…this was really happening!

The next morning I met the adoption coordinator.  She said if I was serious, she was going to talk to the people who I had seen online-they had been waiting 5 years to have a child!  Wow!  They were both close to my age.  When she contacted me next, plans were made and the intended parents flew over (across state) just to meet me at dinner.  They were excited and since I’m the type of person that sets her mind to something then follows through, I had no question or doubt in my mind-they were this child’s true parents.  Made sense now that I look back.  I had so many risky pregnancies and had almost lost this baby twice already but he was a fighter.  Fighting for his life…to grow up and live a full life with his adopted parents.  (I won’t mention their name here due to the nature of the circumstances.)  They wanted it to be an open adoption so he could know me and know that I loved him!  (That was new…never had heard of such a thing, but okay.)  And when they told me the names they had picked out and I gave them my list, we had picked the same name!!! I had spelled it “Nathaniel” and they had spelled it “Nathanael” (biblical spelling).  This was too crazy!  And of course, being pregnant, so full of emotions…but now happy and exciting ones.

My doctor only found out right before I was scheduled to be induced.  He was supportive-he had seen all I had gone through.  I have so much respect and adoration for that doctor.  He was the same one who delivered my daughter two years later and then who found my cancer and removed everything.  During the birth, my mom was kind enough to stay with me since I had no husband to do this with.  The adoptive mother was there as well.  The first night after I had him, Nathanael kept his new parents awake (I slept and was emotionally okay at the time, having been through the birth of two others before).  Nathanael actually wasn’t fussy, but you know how new parents are whenever the new baby makes a squeak or takes a breath.

Needless to say, the next day they were exhausted.  My doctor recommended we all stay one more night, after he looked at me.  When no one was looking, he told me he was prescribing me an antidepressant and I looked at him like he was crazy.  He knew something I hadn’t quite figured out yet.  So, that night, I decided to hold my birth child-not because I needed to, but because I knew he would sleep quieter and I could change his diapers and let his new parents get some sleep one last night before setting off on their new adventure as parents.

All night I held this child, as natural as anything.  And when morning came, I gave him back to the new parents.  The doctor came and released all of us.  I helped them figure out their new car seat and watched them drive off, away from the hospital.  The adoption coordinator was the one there for me who took me home.  Guess it wasn’t my family’s cup of tea.  It was a silent ride.  Walking a tightrope of emotion that I didn’t know how to handle.  A child I was attached to for 9 months was gone.  I knew it was good and right…but in so many senses, it felt wrong-empty.  I couldn’t help the bond I had and that night holding him had grown that feeling even more.  He was beautiful…a perfect life-just as much a miracle as every baby born.

She dropped me off and honestly, I think I blacked out a lot.  It was tough, I know that.  The thing that I do remember was how I started out this post….  The heaviest and saddest and worst night of my life.  Coupled with the fact that I had lost custody of my older kids just months before because of the father of this baby and the poor decisions I had made amongst multiple other factors.  Their dad was harsh and cruel and told me he had felt I had taken the “easy” way out (yes, he said that).  Ha!  If he had chosen to allow a child a better life and sacrifice his own selfish desires to have them, I bet he’d feel different…just musing.  Guess that is neither here nor there.

That first night back, I felt like I was holding Nathanael-I could feel him, smell him, and know he was there in my arms.  Then I would open my eyes and he was gone…I couldn’t sleep.  I balled straight through that night.  At one point I also asked God to somehow help.  The pain I felt was too hard-too unbearable.  I wasn’t strong enough for this.  All of a sudden I felt like I was cradled. I know you’ll likely think I’m crazy, but this is what I felt.  I knew that my God was reaching his arms down and holding me…even if it is figuratively.  It helped give me strength.  It still hurt beyond what any human words could ever express, but it helped me go on.

The next day I spent with my older two kids-now 4 and 6 years old.  We went to the library and I picked up a CD called “Golden Slumbers-A Father’s Lullaby”.  I was compelled to check it out.  On the way home I listened to it, with my kids in the car.  I don’t know how much they understood.  They hadn’t met Nathanael-their father thought it best that they not meet him.  I get that.  They have never to this day met him (their father’s choice, not theirs).  I heard the song I mentioned above-You Can Close Your Eyes, and I lost it.  I pulled over and balled like a baby.  My babies cried with me-they knew I was hurting.  They loved me and I loved each and every child-all 3 that I had had.

After that experience, I still cried constantly for the first few days and when I wasn’t crying, it was held back in the back of my throat.  One night I remember arguing with myself, just after I had talked to Nathanael’s mother on the phone, about how I was supposed to be there-I was his mother.  It wasn’t fair.  This was just a stage in the grief process.

By the way, I only took the anti-depressants for one day and they made my heart drop to about 30 beats per minute and feel like I had a truck parked on my chest and I said “no thank you.” 😉  Threw them away, much to my Doctor’s dismay (apparently it’s bad to just go off anti-depressants like that).  But I did find an awesome lady through Catholic Charities who counseled me and helped me so much!  I continued to see her less and less throughout the domestic violence treatment I went through and all that.  There are a few more stories in there but maybe another day.  For now, I want to end this post by reiterating what an awesome and miraculous thing adoption is.  People taking in a child and choosing to love them as their own.  Not that it is a greater love than you would have for your own flesh and blood, it’s just different.  Choosing to love someone unconditionally vs just loving unconditionally because they are your child.  It is similar to how God loves us.  He doesn’t HAVE to, He chooses to.  We didn’t earn it-He gave that gift to us.

Not to get all religious and preachy there, but I want you to know how amazing this story was and how something that was started in so much bad ended up for so much good.

Today, Nathanael is a smart little 8 year old boy.  I got a birthday card from him-he drew on it and wrote on it.  I have seen him approximately 3 times since his birth as they live a ways away.  And, you never know how, when, and if I’ll see him again but I know his parents are doing an amazing job of raising him.

I love you, J and T!  And I love you too, Nathanael!

🙂

I’m Untitled

(Click HERE and you can hear the song I have been listening to as I write.)

Writing….it’s part of who I am.  I write from my heart, words flowing freely and effortlessly as they enter and exit through my fingers, manifesting themselves on my blog.  This is a blog that has been difficult for me to write, in fact, as you will see by the sporadic time-frames that I post.  I generally write most when I have a lot on my mind, and I was asked by my mom years ago why I don’t just write in a journal and keep it to myself.  As if I was airing out dirty laundry.  But I think other writers, as myself, enjoy reading too and what better than finding a connection with what someone has to say?  I always dream that somehow, my stories can have an impact or maybe inspire someone-help them feel like they’re not alone and that life is still wonderful despite all the hardships we go through.  I still haven’t had the heart to write about some of my largest “mountains” (figuratively speaking)…but I will get there soon-it’s been almost enough time.

Hearts don’t heal completely-they are scarred and sometimes pain comes back in tiny splinters, reminding us of what we went through.  I had one of those experiences today.  I heard something on Pandora that brought memories flooding back of a time that I thought my heart was broken beyond repair. Now looking back I see this wasn’t to be my battle in life-as I’ve said before, it was a stepping stone.  I will never experience that exact pain again and I can say that with certainty, and it is what has brought me to New Mexico…following the little loves of my life.  I am happy about the choices I made back (after not during) that time as so much good came out of all that.  Remind me to tell my story of those events (the good parts anyway) soon!

Anyway, I am mainly writing this all to say that I am not perfect!  My story is still unfolding. My life can’t be labeled or titled because I have no idea what will come at me next.  I have been through some seemingly unreal things in my life and will likely go through more because that’s just what my life seems to hold (God I hope not though).  Like a said in a recent post, great things come from the will to not be average, everyday, ordinary-from needing to be challenged and not accepting the norm.  This is who I am…I am untitled, ever changing me.  To those who once tried to write a book about their experiences in raising me, I hope I have not let you down too much that you couldn’t ever “finish” that book with a happy ending…although it sure seems happy through my eyes.