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why I waited

That night is shrouded in a dense, alcohol fueled fog. I remember most of it, but it is the feelings that stand out as markers throughout the experience. I cannot tell you what he looked like, but I can tell you how he made me feel.

Comforted, accepted, whole, safe, wanted.

I didn't know him at all. He showed up at a party. I was feeling sad, alone, insecure. He said all the right words, did all the right things. I had no reason to fear him. yet. I cannot tell you what his car looked like, but I can tell you that my intuition screamed at me the moment I was inside of it.

Get. Out!

I ignored her, as I unfortunately do at times. Besides, the charm was still there - why would I worry? We talked and drove and I remember thinking, 'well maybe this night isn't a total bust'. I cannot tell you where we were, but I can tell you that fear was making her presence known. And when I asked to go back and he refused, she settled into the pit of my stomach. and some days, I'm not…

what marriage counseling taught me...lesson #6

We have grown apart.

I have heard this as a reason to end relationships, both of the married and of the friend kind.

We are no longer on the same path.
We no longer see eye to eye on this, or any, matter. 
He changed, she changed, they changed, I changed.

We all change. If a person doesn't change, I am concerned for them. honestly. Every new day brings more opportunities for growth, for an expansion of who we are, a progressive transformation into who we are becoming. I understand the fear of change. I spent too much time stuck in the miry mess of worry over who I was, anxiety over who I could be, frozen in a state of doing what I thought was expected, while never being who I was created to be. Being liberated from that chaos has brought a freedom to not only accept this metamorphosis of mine, but to welcome it.

As I have traveled this road of transition, I have learned so many lessons. Among them is the lesson that change is indeed beautiful. As I give myself permission to change,…

racism inside of america...part 1 - in the church

Because this post also fits into another of my series - where the church gets it wrong - I will add the same disclaimer:

I desire open, honest, and nonjudgmental communication from all people and all views and all ideas. The words of my posts are simply my own thoughts on how the church (When I say "church", I mean as a whole entity, not necessarily one denomination or actual building, etc., but as I see her, the Bride of Jesus, of which I am a part. I do not mean to condemn or judge her as an outsider, but simply to encourage her to even greater love, from the inside out. I also acknowledge my own involvement in the past (and even now) in less than stellar behavior before fully grasping just how deep and wide and far the grace and love of our Father flows.) can fully be operational in His Love.

Racism. It's a dressed up word for an ugliness that this country seems unable, or unwilling, to purge itself from. The struggles have been long and hard for all people of …

the give and take

Somewhere, somehow, we've picked up this belief that relationships are a 50/50 endeavor. You give and I give. You take and I take. We have these preconceived allocations of how much, and it has to be a perfect balance, an equivalent counterweight.

It's a misguided notion that ends with unmet expectations, both from others and of ourselves. If, at any point, the other takes more, gives less, we run to our drawing board, we add and subtract, we calculate the answers based on ourintentions. And they come up lacking. 

Or, we constantly measure ourselves against the others actions. Are we giving enough? Are we taking too much? Do our own insecurities cause us to tip the scales unfairly? We are desperate to maintain some semblance of uniformity. And we come up lacking.

We each separately draw this arbitrary line, calling it "the middle", the meeting ground of our equal give and take. We do our part and we wait, impatiently at our line in the sand, watching for the others coun…

what marriage counseling taught me...lesson #5

The journey for us started 21 months ago. It has been one of the best gifts that we have ever given ourselves. We’ve grown in ways that we only imagined before and can honestly say that our marriage is stronger, deeper, and better than ever before. We are living in the best, that elusive place we longed for.

I don’t mind sharing our journey with all of you. Sooner or later, all of the pieces of my life make it into these pages. This post is one of those pieces that I’ve kept to myself and my close others for awhile. This part of our journey has been mine alone.

...

5 sessions in and I knew. We couldn’t continue until I found some healing. What I was searching for with us - a whole, healthy relationship - was being hindered by my own brokenness. I was dragging every piece of my shattered life, from childhood on, into this marriage and expecting...

...Expecting him to fix me, to fix all the tarnished and busted parts; to climb down from his white horse, in his shiny armor, and be the …

to fix or not to fix, that is the question

I cannot fix others.

It took me a very long time to understand that, maybe longer to stop trying. I love people. I especially love my people, my tribe of important others in my life. When they would come to me, bearing their problems and dilemmas all packaged nicely in matching baggage, I would set to work. I would unpack and sort, arrange and label, find solutions and give opinions. I would fix.

I have this uncanny ability to see all sides of an issue. It’s where my middle-of-the-road approach to life was birthed. From this vantage point, I am given a full 360 degrees of reasons and choices, hows and whys, the nuts and bolts of issues and solutions. And I was only too happy to share this information. Why?

Because it made me feel wanted, necessary, needed. Inside of a thought life that was constantly questioning my worth and value, trying to find where, or even if, I had a place in others lives, I knew for that moment in time I was important to them. If I could only fix their problems…

where the church gets it wrong...mental illness

I desire open, honest, and nonjudgmental communication from all people and all views and all ideas. The words of my posts are simply my own thoughts on how the church* can fully be operational in His Love.




Suicide.
It is all over the news this week. again. And every time, my thoughts are the same : why do we have people around us who are hopeless? We are supposed to carry the very essence of Hope within us, so what are we, The Church, doing wrong?

For starters, we are not acknowledging mental illness. I know this firsthand. (You can read about our family's struggle with mental illness and acceptance here ) We question the validity of science, and the exact causes of depression and anxiety. Science is not the enemy here. The enemy is our flagrant stubbornness to recognize the truth of many studies performed by those more qualified than I.

We offer our thoughts, opinions, and prayers, and little else in the way of actual help. Do I believe in the healing power of positivity? of p…

trust wins

Trust.
This one word stirs up a whirlwind of emotions within me. What is trust, really? I know the definition but what does it mean to me?

I was part of a trust experiment a few years ago in which we were supposed to tell others, “I trust you with my cat. I trust you with my wallet. I trust you with my spouse.” I couldn’t do it. I walked out rather than say those words. It would have been a lie, would have been fake. I refuse to be less than my truth, so my defense mechanism is to just walk run away. (I am working on that. slowly.)

On my way out the door though, I realized just how deep my roots of distrust run. I mean, I love our cat but he is a real jerk and I still couldn’t trust another to care for him!

I have trust issues. I admit that. We, as a society, seem to throw that phrase around as our get out of jail free card. Can you trust me? No, I have trust issues. We justify our lack of trust by pointing out who and when and how our trust has been betrayed and wave it around like a…

shopping and drinking and eating, oh my

The first time that I remember a shopping "high", I was only a teen. I had had a disagreement with a friend and I was in my feelings - hurt, betrayed, excluded, passed over. I grabbed my newly acquired credit card and headed to the mall where I shopped til I dropped, from one end to the other, feeling better with each passing purchase. I maxed that card out. in one day. in one shopping excursion. but, I felt so good. Like, all the hurt could be hidden behind that new outfit, all the betrayal could be trampled under those new boots, all the exclusion was lost in that sweet new fragrance, and all the feelings of being passed over could be buried in the deep pockets of that new handbag.

I was already involved in the drug life. I knew what it felt like to be high from that. and this felt the same. Nothing else mattered in the moment.

~~

I was never a casual drinker when I first started, six years below the legal age. I went straight for the hard liquor, very little chaser. My o…

what marriage counseling taught me...lesson #4

As I was reading Brene Brown's latest book, Braving The Wilderness, this literally jumped off the page and into my heart. This explained my latest lesson perfectly. Let me rephrase it the way that my brain saw it :

If spouses really want their loved one to show up, speak out, take chances, and innovate, we each have to create cultures where the other feels safe - where their belonging is not threatened by speaking out and they are supported when they make the decision to brave the wilderness, stand alone, and speak truth to bullshit.

I want to show up and speak out, with a transparency that begs for a deeper intimacy. I want to take chances and bring new ideas to our relationship that catapults us even higher. I want to be vulnerable and open and speak honestly. And I want all of those things for him as well.

When I first met my hubby, I was fresh out of an abusive relationship. Like 3 weeks fresh. I was a walking mess of fear and insecurity. I didn't feel safe, ever. I d…

come together

About a month ago, I put this*(pic below) on my car because I desire to live in a world where we can all coexist. One where kindness overtakes lack of understanding, where generosity outshines differences, and where love wins the battle against fear and hatred. I have to believe that most all of us want that same world, but what do our words say? our actions? What are we saying to, or about, those who look, act, speak, believe, vote, live, worship differently than we do? How are we treating them? with the same love that we wish to be treated with? with the same respect? Change comes when WE change - our thoughts, our words, our actions - and begin to BE the world of love we wish to live in!

This was a post that I put up yesterday on two different social media outlets where I share my heart. I knew that it would be better accepted on one of those (5 times better at this writing), but I'm not one to keep quiet about my truth, even when others disagree. That is the true beauty…

get out of the pit and live

*Friends don't let friends wallow.

Sometimes people want you to agree with their negativity-and then want you to just be okay with them living there. They’re perfectly content to live in the “sucky,” though they know it sucks & they don’t want to live there-they just don’t want to change enough to actually make a change.

This post hit me right in my mind, my heart, and all my feels. I am stubborn. Like, stubborn with a capital S. For most of my life, if I wanted to wallow, I expected everyone in my life to either leave me alone, there in that mess, or join me, which really justified my thoughts. I was that friend, perfectly content in the sucky.

Jesus isn’t gonna just sit around & wallow with us in our mess. He’s not gonna be like, “Aw, I’m sorry, baby, let’s just go ahead & make some snow angels in this.” No. He’s like, “All right we got this handled, let’s go; moving forward,” because He wants more for us.

It wasn't like I didn't know that I was wallowin…

wise choices and self love

At one point last year, the hubby and I were discussing a situation with our hindsight glasses firmly in place, pointing out where we took the misguided step, and chalking the experience up to a life lesson. Because doesn't that sound better than saying we made another mistake? Life lesson sounds like we are learning and growing and moving on from it.

But, I was tired of life lessons piling up behind us. And I said so.
"We need to walk into life making wise choices before and lessen the amount of life lessons behind."

It became a joke at first, throwing out the words "make wise choices" anytime we were faced with decisions. Then, the more we said it, the more that it stuck with me, and I started thinking it into all areas of my life.

Look at that pretty pair of LuLaRoe...     is that a wise choice?

Starbucks drive thru is so convenient...     is that a wise choice?

I'm craving french fries, or ice cream, or...     is that a wise choice?

I am not one that is…

do this, don't do that

Do this. Don't do that.

The list of all the ways that I have seen or heard to better my life is long. Politics, friends, religion, family, news, social media. Everyone has a different take on the way to achieve a better you, a better life. But, what do you think? What is in your heart to do?

As a child, I needed rules and guidance and someone older, more mature, to show me the way. As I grew, I needed to explore the boundaries of those limitations. I needed to see if they were right for me, for who I am. I found the places that needed adjusted, places where I could expand out into more, or where I needed to draw the line back. I discovered that my lines of who I am are more fluid than I first believed.

Some of this was done within the confines of a strict religious mindset. Some of it was done in the turbulent days of a youth gone wild. Some of it was done under the (false) assumption that following rules would bring acceptance. Some of it was done when my very soul was conflict…