Friday, October 13, 2017

Real. Different. Real Different...(and all that entails)

I have always had my quirks, those things that make me me.  I cherish the unique, the stuff that sets me apart. Sometimes it's been simply clothing. I love my multi colored shoes from 10th grade and my black and white dress that had both stripes and polka dots on it. I derived a sense of freedom and immense happy each time I chose them from my closet. Other times it has been embracing an idea no one else gets or cheering for the underdog...
So when different doesn't pan out to be the most coveted spot in the planet, where does the quirky, proud to be odd turn?
Life is full of seasons.  As a woman, I am not blind to the fact that many factors from our female properties make some of those seasons a bit crazy.
My writing and just being me in general has always been real. I really have nothing to hide. But sometimes I really see that real setting me apart to the point of crazy being the sign over the door and then I wish I could be not quite so open. As I age that real me has seen some real lonely. Some days, like the one I just lived thru, remind me of being the 3rd grade odd ball.  I wonder if I have horns growing out of my snout and if I am crazy for feeling like everyone on the planet has a problem with me.  Wow.  Did I really just say that out loud?    ***Here is where I could easily hit delete or close and walk away with out exposing any more of my vulnerable soul. But due to some strategic conversations recently I will plod on along...
Life sometimes sucks. Yup I said that out loud too.
For some close to me, harsh realities and unexpected not life planned out have turned normal day to day into worry central.  We are busy. And tired. We run and race to get to all we need to do.  Rest evades us. The urge to please exhausts us. We are islands to ourselves trudging through the crowds as alone as a lone ranger on a dessert path.
Yet, there is a common thread that connects us all, a God designed plan of being here to do life together. I don't have some great profound method or plan for carrying out that plan but I have sure pondered more deeply what other women and folks in general are saying when I really stop to listen to their hearts.
My children for example,  are grappling with the concepts of growing up and many times recently as they have done new things they come around with the same old nagging question that has plagued us all since the beginning of time..."what if they don't like me?" or "they don't like me.."
I wonder how I can teach them to be confident in their God given quirks when I at 42 years of age am most insecure of all. I think they are amazing perfectly wonderful gifts from God (and I see some of my quirks coming thru). Often my oldest will say "but MOOOOMMMM, you think that because you're my mom..." "Yup kido I am indeed your mama but God created you to be you...accept it.  Love it.  Embrace it." 
It's those conversations when my heart is bursting with love for my children that I am reminded how my Daddy God sees me.  I am sure his heart breaks when I believe the lies hammering in my ears..."you are unloved...unimportant...uncared for...ugly...worthless...annoying....

So back to that God designed plan, I was recently reminded of how important encouragement can be among us in this thing called life. My inbox stays fairly clean but the kinds of things that stay are those such as a love note from my man and a short paragraph of complete unexpected encouragement stating I was a good mother that is dated Feb 15, 2014 and is from a friend I haven't seen in probably 20 years.
It didn't take this friend much effort, I assume, to type a few words that have had such a profound impact on my soul.  I know I can offer that same gift to others and that is something I really want to work on doing more of. But so often I am to self absorbed and busy being me to care enough to show it.
Doing the together thing isn't always that simple and sometimes requires more of us. We may have to get sticky, dirty and more exhausted. We may have to jump out of our comfort zone.  We may have to get really super uncomfortable.
Sometimes I think the levels of pain in our lives and in those around us walking around breathing (breathing is a connecting factor...we are alive and have purpose despite) has reached epic proportions.  Life is hard enough with out all the extra trash we throw and accept into our deepest being when it's pitched our way.  So I will wrap these rambles up with a question or two (and I'd really love active discussion...) In what ways are you being real and different and what is your contribution the bettering the together?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

It's grief week...

Well folks, the time is here.
That time of year when Dorothy gets all sappy and posts a million things more in addition to her usual blather.
Grief week ~ year number 3.
I had made big plans this year to have everything be more normal, more low key.
Then death and terminal illness reared their ugly heads around me.  And due to my process, I have learned those to be trigger hot spots for my emotions.
So I sit to write the splattering of jumble bumbling around in my brain which should be comfortably asleep. 
Nope, the lovely PTSD is sending the old images crashing through the back corners of my mind.
Tonight I waited to go to bed till I was good and tired.  I took a long soak, talked to God a while and thought happy thoughts.  I was relaxed till the first second I laid my head on that pillow. I close my eyes and there she is scampering out the door in her purple 3 sizes to small swimsuit, tittering on her tippy toes cause the suit is still wet...and I am to busy to do what my gut says.

Regret on top of the flashbacks sits me straight up in bed, gasping for air, tight bands constricting my chest.
I pray. 
I know HE is there, but so is the horror. 
So I resign myself to going where there is light to chase the dark away and where I can safely voice my inner struggle.  Here I write. More prayer and a good glass of bubbly are my aids.
We have tried many coping mechanisms. 
Some of them work. 
Some of them don't. 
I internalize people's words. 
I am sure much of what has caused much brooding was not so intended.
It's that people pleasing part of me that does not always do me well.
A conversation last week which left me feeling like a squished bug,  firmed up the plan to "move on along" and "get on with life".  It bothered me when it was so spoken, but man! has it eaten at me ever since.  I wish I wouldn't have been so complacent in my response. On one hand I wanted to punch the broad and yell that she had never faced this type of loss and that she should sit quietly by hoping that she never would, instead of issuing such branded statements.  But I sat there, smiled and agreed, even trying to point out ways we are moving along.
Now don't get me wrong, moving along is all good and well and necessary. 
But grief is unpredictable.
The 100 miles we got ahead yesterday may be meaningless in the 101 we got set back today.
I feel we are relatively healthy emotionally for where we are and for where we have been.
Our counselor told me recently that our lives will most likely always be laced with PTSD as well as the happy now untouchable memories. It's not the greatest of outlooks, but it's ours so it'll have to do.
We talk of death now as we would food and drink and other parts of daily life.
Some friends of ours had a miscarriage this week at 18 weeks along.  We talked of another sweet girl up with Abby.
Today we chatted about that family fun day we had with Thomas the tank engine just months before Abby died and how she acted that day. She was the only one not afraid of Sir Topham Hat. (yes..."Sir Topham hat was cross...")  It made us all giggle. 
I think that's the one thing I miss the most is her giggle.  Sometimes I fear it is fading so that I will not remember.  But her loud, rambunctious spirit came through in her laugh. Her smile really did light up a place.

I miss holding her and how after seemingly endless years, I was suddenly not mommy to a preschooler, just in the blink of an eye.
It hit me this week how odd it is to not sign cards from our family with her name.
I still feel lost and incomplete at times when we are all in the car, like I am there in just my under ware or that my purse is still inside on the counter. 
She is not there. Life is upside down.  We long for Heaven and Jesus and the day all will be upright once more..
I need to re do the bows on the fence where we feel she met her amazing Creator. They are tattered and torn.  They aren't really all that sentimental but are from the first Abby memorial event we did. I was mowing close by the other day and almost couldn't continue when I got close....Maybe this week I will have the energy.
Kali is heading to her first Bible camp and first week away from home.  We are both a tad nervous and I am sure that is not all that helpful for the process of trying to "feel" calm in this season.  She has openly asked us if she will die at camp.  Of course the question always takes me off guard and leaves me with that kick in the gut feeling.  I think we have handled it ok....
While it is a tough feeling I know she will thrive and have the time of her life this week. I know we have to encourage her to spread her wings. I know she can not "stay" with us forever. 
In the same breath I also know we are not guaranteed tomorrow.
I have thought a zillion times about how I made Abby stay at vacation Bible school just a few weeks before she died. It was good for her and she ended up loving it and after the first night or two of loud screeching and hiding behind my legs.  I wonder if I had known I was down to just a few more weeks with her if I had not chosen to block off the calendar and spend every single possible moment with her?
I know I have to come to grips with the anxiety that "normal" parents probably face too and balance that with my grief infused life and then turn the whole lump over to the one who has faithfully provided sustenance and hope in this awful journey.
But let me tell you, It ain't easy.
As I sit contemplating the week ahead, I know we will continue actively walking the grief road.
I know we have progressed and made choices that are our families best yes in the yucky. I know we have a wonderful support network who won't forget. (You have no idea the gift that remembering her is to us...)  I know we will most likely shed a few tears as we remember. And I know God is not tired of our tears and continues to give breath when we don't always know where the next one is gonna come from.
For this I am so grateful.
And I am grateful to each of you for continuing to walk this painful journey with us.  Your love and support means more then words can say....
Abby Marie Miller
9/14/10 ~ 7/15/14

Friday, May 26, 2017


Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
As I scroll back through my blog, a common thread emerges. It's that compelling "I have to write then I'll feel better" theme.  Often I have passed up the urges and still survived. LOL.  However sometimes, getting the thoughts out into the atmosphere bring about a strange healing, sometimes for me, sometimes for others who may stumble across my ramblings.
I'm always learning.  Now don't get me wrong.  I don't pretend to be well versed in much anything. But the process of learning is often bettered by sharing with one another in the process. I don't like the idea of simply throwing every exciting thought out into the universe, but often others' words can serve to be a source of encouragement that can be just what is needed at the moment.  And tho I abhor the impersonal nature of social media, I have seen God use it much! 
This week we finished a beautiful vacation with my family at the ocean. We had perfection.  80 degrees and sunshine daily.
This week also brought some moments of painful revelation, the kind that kick you in the gut and leave you questioning many things including your own sanity and every decision you have ever made.  It's the kind that also amplifies one's failures. It elicits the kind of emotion that makes you feel like vomiting at any given moment. And of course it brings the endless stream of sleep robbing questions...what if's...what nows...
To preserve my last shred of sanity, I have been browsing through our beautiful vacation photos and grasping on to every small blip of encouragement I have come across. 
Like this one...
I love the carefree spirit and love I see embodied here.  It reminds my of my Bible study girls in particular...those friends who love me even when I am crazy and queen grumpy. They pray for me and hold my hand and tell me it'll be ok. I can be completely real and tell them the truth about the crappy stuff and they'll not "rat me out" or make my already fragile spirit feel unsafe. They do fun too. Our giggles are the best.
And they help me learn about resting...and waiting when I want to get my wonderwoman boots out and kick some butt.
 I love the memes and daily devotional style posts that come across facebook.  Ann Voscamp is among my favorites.  This one popped up this week at an intense moment where I wanted to curl up in a tiny ball, hide and weep.
I know it's truth.  I'm learning to lay my head there. It ain't easy...
And then there's this photo....(shout out to my hubby who carried most of the weight of a hundred pounds of shells the what seems like 5 miles back from Shell Island.)
So much of the time when my boots come out, I am finding often that resting first is a better option.  This doesn't mean that I never enter warfare or face the tough stuff head on. 
I happened to marry "Mr When I'm Not 100 % Sure What To Do, Don't Do Anything". It's another one of those God designed gifts that drives me crazy.  But that's another thought for another day.
The stuff that slammed us this week is no laughing matter.  It's hard...yucky...nightmare material.  And the reactions we express now could mess certain relationships up for the rest of time.  It's that serious. So when I've been tempted to rush in, I'm learning in some hard ways why at this moment resting and waiting is in all of our best interests.

In the process, I keep getting almost daily reminders of my worth and beauty before my father God who adores me beyond my comprehension. 
Like these wild ocean side grasses....
From far away they are plain and unappealing.  But close up, they have intricate beauty and detail.
What a place to rest.
Today the day started in tears, misunderstanding and great frustration and fear. But then God stepped in and in his typical great and amazing grace provided peace and rest.  I opened my face book to this reminder.
What a promise.
We are not required to, well actually the Bible commands us not to worry about the troubles of tomorrow. I'm real good at not obeying that particular command. But today I am choosing rest.
And you know how rest producing troubles often draw us closer to HIS heart...
With that season of rest, I am gifted time. 
Time to ponder...time to care for others via prayer and intercession.
So in my resting today, how can I pray for you?
You can comment here or message me if that's easier.
                                          The road of life is easier when walked with a friend - unknown


Thursday, May 4, 2017


I've been there a bunch lately.
In that place I call "the corner".
It's that uncomfortable state of being many of us find ourselves at periodically, some more then others.  If we're honest.

We beat our selves up there.
Crazy happens there and lots of feeling sorry for myself and comparison of others who I perceive to have reached those gargantuan places full of perfection I can never hope to attain to.
And then there's the what ifs section of the corner, the place where every idiosyncrasy of my spontaneous nature is dissected and abhorred.
What if I'd been more rigid in my education style?  Maybe my kid would read better?
What if I'd been more watchful? Maybe I'd still be mom to 4 living children instead of 3 and 1 angel.
Lots of my friends have been there too lately I am finding.
They stress and fret and stew and live really hard and sometimes very yucky day to day existences.
They wonder, as do I, about who they are.  Really are.
They wonder if they are worthy.
They wonder if they are loved.
They wonder if they are enough.
And they wonder if they can make it though one more day of pain.
I recently read a homeschool mama's book called "Teaching from Rest".
Now let me tell you, I don't get much reading time.  I enjoy reading but my current pace eliminates time for meaningful reading. But this book was short and I devoured it.  Every single line. It was what I needed at that moment.
It gave me the much needed reminder that rest is ok...and really actually needed...and that the crazy we subject ourselves to with the lists of activities and responsibilities (not to mention the beating ourself up time)  we immerse ourselves in, while tho they may be good are not always for our best.
It did not grant me a license to be lazy mind you, but to re evaluate my priorities with the Best Yes philosophy that has turned my life upside down.
This also motivated me to re investigate the truths of the Bible and how they apply to my day to day.
Here's my most recent list (since I'm all about lists...)
*We are LOVED. 
Ephesians 2:4 - 7 says "But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loves us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ...
*We are VALUED.
Matthew 10:31 says Fear not, therefore; You are of more value then many sparrows.
Isaiah 43:4 says Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.
*We can make it through the tough.
Isaiah 41:10 reassures us of this.."Fear not, for I am with you; Be no dismayed for I am thy God.  I will strengthen you, I will help you...
* We are ENOUGH.
2 Peter 1:3 says "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.."
and then there's this one...Ephesians 2:10 - For YOU are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works..."
How's that for value?
If you like me and many others I love, struggle with who you are, let me shout to you from my corner that YOU ARE ENOUGH!

So much has happened recently that has reinforced these truths.
I'm finding that so many of my beliefs center around my wrong thought processes and me not valuing who God created me to be.
Not that I need to take pride in wrong ways, but God talks much of our value in his word so there has to be truth to that somewhere right?!
I met someone this week, who in my mind is somewhat of a celebrity.  She bounces around in memories of my childhood.  She has also reached pinnacles of success I feel are never going to be my destiny.  (how's that for the yucky comparison monster?) My first reaction at meeting her again had me shaking in my boots.  "She'll never remember mouse I be..." But as fate would have it, God reminded me of my value. I considered running the other direction or acting like I was busy when she entered the room.  But there she came, straight into "my corner"..and she remembered ME!  and had the same recollection of memories.  I'd have missed a great conversation if I'd stayed stuck in my corner, worrying and devaluing God's handiwork.
Now, I'm not saying that her remembering me gives me value, but for me it is a reminder of who I am...I AM ENOUGH!
Casting Crowns has a song I love called Voice of Truth.  Take a minute to listen. Let the truth wash over you.
And if you are facing a "climbing out of boat onto the crashing waves" time in your space called life, take hope and remember...YOU ARE ENOUGH!

He is enough!


Sunday, April 23, 2017

What if...

The past 2 1/2 years have been filled with lots of different questions and a million different emotions. 
I had thought that by this point in the journey that my emotional process may be different and that in some miraculous way the urges to flee from the suffocating stages of grief may have diminished.
They have some what. 
Time has a way. 
Somehow though the bubble I put around myself popped this week and the crash hasn't been all that pretty. 
On lookers may miss it. 
Even those I am close to can't necessarily see my inner soul (unless of course I blatter on publicly on social media)
Only God can.
While I know this to be truth and find it comforting mostly, I also know that my broken record reminders of clinging to Him in the eye of the storm are reality.  
BUT this doesn't mean the questions stop. 
And yes, I'm writing from that place. That broken place where the tears stain the keyboard and my stomach is in knots...the place and time where I long to just wrap up in my covers and stay put..the anti social place which my normal self disdains.
Those questions are endless as are the flashbacks (hello PTSD..)
What if I'd been not so busy and would have followed her out to the pool as my gut suggested?
What if we hadn't filled the pool more full then usual?
What if I'd been more on top of water safety?
and the Whys...
Why oh why did I have to endure the many years of infertility only to lose a part of my soul just when the tiresome, exhaustion of 4 very young ones was becoming just a tad bit easier?
Why did we have to be chosen to be parents who have lost?
I have the tendency to beat my self up over my need to know the what if and the why's answers.
However the longer I walk this journey, the more I realize in deeper ways how the God of the universe has shoulders big enough to handle my pidley and sometimes angry questions.
I am also seeing the many parallels to David's up and downs.  He is known as a man after God's own heart.  How much closer to God can you get then that? To know God's heart...
Psalms is full of emotions much like mine.  
Some days were good for David and he danced in the streets.  
Others were not so good and David moaned and groaned to his creator.  Ps 119:25 says "I am laid low in the dust. Preserve my life according to your word."  Definitely some depression going on and a not so dancing in the street day.
This week this has meant that in order to keep on with life I may need to change my what ifs and whys up a bit.
What if the bigger picture is much more beautiful then I can fathom?
What if the lessons make me better?
What if the horrid grief can be a tool to reach others?

I have a list of questions for God that I'd love to sit down and discuss with Him but I wonder if when we actually get up there to that glorious city, if they'll be all that important to me?

So for now I will continue to wrestle, to keep the faith, to get out of bed, to paste on the sometimes fake smile and remember that He is big enough to handle all my what ifs.

And of course we continually remember...Facebook has been throwing memories at me left and right. This is todays...