Thanksgiving 2017 #TheGiftofTime

Even when life is tough I believe there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for, you just need to look until you find it.

Aside from my marriage (that definitely hasn’t been smooth this year) 2017 has been a season of restoration and reconciliation and healing for me. I think it was the gift of time. In my single mom, work overload days I never had time to relax, breath, rest. This year I did all of that. This year I did exactly that. I scheduled rest and one on one time with each person in my immediate life circle.

Im thankful for my adult children. I’m so proud of them. They have grown into such responsibile, kind, caring, life benefitting people. I’m blown away by their work ethic and kindness to others.

I’m thankful that the younger kiddos have really been able to experience fun things this year from date night and a new haircut to seeing the Blue Angels and bungie diving at six flags. I’m certain 2017 has been a great year they will always remember. They were able to be involved in more activities than ever before because we had so much spare time. Oh and summer was swimming and snuggling and sleeping late daily. Best summer ever!!! P.S. I really wish I had that kind of time when mine were young. I missed so much working and being in college. Enjoy your kids while they’re still young y’all because it really does go by quickly.

I’m thankful for another year with my sweet Abigail. As crazy as that yorkie can be, I can’t imagine life without her. The pitter patter of her tiny little feet meeting me at the gate when I get home makes my heart explode with fireworks.
I’m thankful for my little blended family small group. It has been awesome to see women supporting and encouraging other women. The group as a whole has gone through a lot this year. Divorces, lawsuits, a custody battle, one suffered a devastating child loss… But without fail and no matter what was going on, someone in the group always took the time to listen and be there for the person in need. Virtual hugs are still hugs, right?

My goals in 2018 are to lose 20-30 pounds (please don’t try to sell me anything lol), have the surgery I need, and figure out my future career path. At my age (clearing my throat) it feels impossible to start over or start from scratch but I really really really am just so burned out with the legal field and do not want to go back into it. Like ever. So, I really need to figure out what it is that I am going to do professionally because it’s time to get back to work.

But first, coffee ☕️

I hope you all have much peace, love and joy this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving 🍁

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Broken Beautifulness #FaithHopeLove #RHOD

I was talking to a friend the other day about this “beautifully broken” life I’ve lived (and that my friends have lived) and how it compares to a stained glass window.  On Sept 5, 2017, I made this journal entry in my cell phone notes but haven’t really taken the time to blog it yet.

Have you ever seen a beautiful, colorful, vibrant piece of stained glass artwork? It’s pretty darn amazing. So, I looked up how to make it and stumbled across a website that said: Part 2 – (1) Make your template, (2) Score your glass, (3) Cut your glass, (4) Grind the edges, (5) Foil the glass, (6) Add flux … (7) Solder the glass… (8) Frame your creation.

Isn’t that like life y’all? Our creator has given us a template and life does the scoring and grinding. When it comes to myself, I really enjoy Step 1 of life and the hope of Step 8 of life. Viewing the template. Seeing the potential. Knowing that in the end there is going to be something beautiful. But you know what, I HATE the steps in between. The “art” of being scored, cut and ground down…. YIKES. But life will do that to you. It just will.

I am not going to say that I’ve committed to those in between steps, that I like those steps, or that I want those steps, but I am committed to believing by faith that  – in the end – once I’ve been molded and worked with and worked on by my creator and life’s experiences, that I will end up a beautiful creation worth framing – scores, cuts, scars, soldering and all. And you know what, I believe that you will be also.

Monday night on the RHOD Reunion Part 2, Andy Cohen asked each of the ladies what their rose and thorn was from this season. Every rose does have its thorn, right? The normal highs and lows of life. LeeAnne Locken said that she has such a hard time seeing the rose through the thorns sometimes. But y’all, that’s where faith does come in. Despite the thorns of life, despite the stained glass project that is not yet complete, find the rose in the season that you are in. The roses are ALWAYS there. You just have to look for them and trust the process. And yes, that’s me preaching to myself LOL.

Coffee cheers from Texas y’all. Go slay today.

 

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The Enlightened Lyricist

For the past 6 months or so, I’ve ran into a local kid several times (ok he’s in his early 20s but they are still kiddos to me at that age LOL). What struck me about him in particular was his journal. It was well worn and well loved. I’m a journal junkie and have at least a dozen of them so immediately I was curious. I mean, I can’t  remember the last time I ran into someone in public who carried a good, old-fashioned pen and paper journal. That’s sort of a lost art in todays techy world but it is still my personal favorite for note taking and brainstorming.

Come to find out, he is a young poet, artist, writer, rapper, etc. that goes by the tagline The Enlightened Lyricist. I like that tagline. He says that people think he looks scary. I can see that. But digging a bit deeper, peeling back some of those layers like an onion, there is so much more than meets the eye (as with most people, right?). He sort of reminded me of Eminem once he started rapping some of his poems (see Praying for Marshall Mathers).

If you look even closer you’ll notice that he has a large tattoo on his lower arm that says Proverbs 31:10 which reminds him of his beloved Grandma because that was her life verse and the one they used at her funeral. One of these days, he wants to meet a Proverbs 31:10 woman and get married, have children, and have a traditional home with two parents there to lead and guide the family daily. What GREAT goals and expectations to have in your early 20s.

We discussed our favorite musicians and though they were vastly different culturally, they were also very similar. For example, I LOVE Brantley Gilbert who is a secular country rock artist but who is also a man of faith having albums titled A Modern Day Prodigal Son, Halfway to Heaven, and The Devil Don’t Sleep. Within each of his secular albums is at least one faith-based song. To me there is something completely awesome about being at a country rock concert and the crowd busting out in a faith song because we do all have a spiritual side and spiritual nature whether we acknowledge it or not.

The Enlightened Lyricist introduced me to one of his favorite songs by the controversial rapper DMX and y’all, this song – Lord Give Me a Sign (which is linked here) – is awesome! Simply awesome. I’ve added it to my Spotify playlist. He also identifies with the song Demons by Imagine Dragons and is very open to share about his spiritual walk, journey, and personal struggles with anger, depression, life hurts, and unmet relationship expectations. He is light years ahead of the game and really I expect great things from him in the future.

One day I hope to be sitting on the porch enjoying a nice cup of hot coffee listening to the Enlightened Lyricist on the radio. Why? Because he will be able to do ALL THINGS…

Coffee cheers from Texas y’all.

 

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Precious Cargo #ShesStillThere #Pro31OBS Ch. 8

Dang these homework questions in Chapter 8 LOL.

According to Chrystal Evans Hurst, we are all carrying precious cargo: gifts, talents and abilities that are unique to us. She writes that it is our responsibility to move through life well; to operate in full awareness of the possibilities that lie within us. It is our assignment to steward what we have been given and our job to get the contents within us deposited safely at their destination.

Pastor Duane at Victory Life Church used to tell us that a lawnmower serves no purpose in the dessert. It could even be a top of the line, high end, amazing lawnmower with all of the bells and whistles. But, if it’s not in the right environment, it’s purpose is not going to be fulfilled. That is exactly where I feel like I am in this current phase and season of life if it’s not where I’ve been all of my adult life. I’m not even sure what environment I belong in. It’s like I’ve been pursuing a long-term “trial and error” learning experience without ever “knowing” exactly where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing. I got pregnant in high school and was forced to move out. So I got a job. I raised kids. I paid bills. I did what I had to do to survive. But, what do I do now?

One of the Reflections for the Rescue challenges says to identify your biggest struggle in carrying your cargo well. Maybe it’s “I don’t know or love my God-given cargo“… Yes,  Absolutely, Oh My Goodness! I just don’t know. At this point, I’m wondering if I ever will know.

What I do know is how I FEEL and I feel like that amazing tractor with all of the bells and whistles living in the dessert and I really desire to know where I belong.

Coffee cheers your way guys. Much love and hugs.

 

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#ShesStillThere #Pro31OBS Ch. 6-7 (Part 2)

Good Morning Blogging Land 🙂

It’s been a little too long since I’ve logged my journal reminders and challenges to self from this book so without further wait… here goes.

If we are truly going to honor the person we were designed to be, we must answer this question: The girl inside you, where should she be and what should she be doing? (Sigh… this one is so tough for me because it feels like there are many things that I am meant to do but it also seems like I am in that awkward junior high phase of life or in some kind of airplane holding pattern. It’s difficult to explain LOL but maybe it’s really all about timing).

Remember: knowing who you are is a PROCESS. Self-understanding, self-appreciation, and self-love are things you can build over time as you give yourself the grace to learn what makes you “you”. You have to believe in who you are. Value the “gift of you”. You are a soul. You are created. You are unique. Most women struggle at some point in their lives to keep that special design in mind. We get ditched by the boy, stressed by our finances, fired from the job, snubbed by our kids, bored with life, disgusted by our weight gain, ashamed of our wrinkles, and are left wondering if we actually matter (has this woman been inside of my head LOL? Do ALL women really feel this way at some point? Lord knows I do!) Be patient with yourself. Self-discovery is a lifelong process.

I love the challenging questions she asks in Ch. 7. Such as “at what point did the marriage go sour? When did the breach between family members grow to the point that communication ceased? Why did the business partnership end…?” I never really thought about these situations as being so universal and applying to everyone. But really, they do. Almost every person I meet or talk to has been divorced or has some serious mommy issues or daddy issues or sibling issues or hurts and hang-ups. Despite our human differences in religious beliefs, political affiliation, sexual orientation, skin color, career choice, etc. we really do have sooooooo much in common. We just have to be patient enough to peel back all of the layers to see it sometimes. And of course, we have to learn the master skill of overlooking offense (I’m still working through that one).

The author goes even further to call out the actions of others that ended up wounding so many women that I know such as: when the neighbor’s son violated you, it affected your view of men. When your mother critiqued you, when your very best was not good enough, it caused you to feel as if you could never measure up. The cruel words other kids aimed at you found their mark. And when that man hit you with his own two hands the first time, you were stunned, but each time you chose to stay, you allowed your self-worth and value to be eroded bit by bit.  Y’all, in the world of contested family law litigation, I saw every one of these situations first hand over and over and over again. I’m so thankful to see someone – this author – willing to put these realities out there.

She wraps up Ch. 7 very nicely with much encouragement. That even when we feel that things are beyond repair, nothing is beyond repair when placed in the hands of the One who can make something out of nothing. That is where she met God and if you’ve read my story, you know that is exactly where I met God too. During those desperate and impossible moments of life where I felt the most helpless (and was).

“It’s not enough to know you are a unique, divinely created soul. You must believe it… You are loved. You are accepted. You are valuable.” Yes!!!

That was my homework to self in those chapters. BELIEVING (which takes Faith, right) that I am a uniquely, divinely created soul that has gifts and abilities that only I can complete. That I am loved and I am valuable.

Now, repeat that with me ten times LOL.

Thank you Chrystal Evans Hurst for these great reminders.

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Walking Lessons. The Unloved House.

I’ve walked our neighborhood so many times that it’s gotten really boring, so now I go walk the surrounding neighborhoods. Today I went by this house. At first glance it’s really beautiful, in a great neighborhood with high property values and good schools, and has beautiful stone work and colors. But a closer inspection made me think “man, this house would be great if only it had been well loved”. I could tell by the number of weeds in the lawn that the yard had been neglected for quite some time. How many seasons have to come and go to have that many weeds? I think there were more weeds than grass. The bushes were overgrown and uneven and there was a big dent in the garage door. And that’s the curb appeal part of the house.

Isn’t that people y’all? At first glance it can look so good on the outside but a closer, detailed inspection reveals the damage and neglect from prior owners and renters (whether that’s parents, kids, an ex, a boss, siblings etc). 

I look forward to seeing this house after it gets in the hands of an owner that sees its full potential and is willing to invest the time and resources needed to really make that place shine. And I hope the same for you also. 

Surround yourself with people who see your value and are willing to invest in making you the best version of yourself possible.
You are worth it ❤️

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Symbols, Boycotts, and Free Speech #takeaknee versus #standfortheflag

As usual, more things that bring division are heating up here in America. But before I start, I have to remind myself that this is an international blog and that I have readers (per blog stats sorted by country from greatest to least views) from the USA, Canada, the UK, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Oman, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, the European Union, Kenya, Trinidad & Tobago, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Jamaica, India, the Netherlands, Singapore, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, France, Qatar, Puerto Rico, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Nepal, the Bahamas, Pakistan, Cote d’Ivoire, Aruba, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Lesotho, Sweden, Indonesia, Czech Republic, Romania, Denmark, South Korea, Switzerland, Kuwait, Spain, Tanzania, Finland, Vietnam, and the Caribbean Netherlands. WOW! Thank you to each of you who have read this. You humble me!!!

Despite what you may see in the media, America is GREAT!!! You could come visit me, go for coffee, eat at the best restaurants, visit amazing museums, and 99% of the time be treated fairly and respectfully. America is AMAZING! Women can own property, drive cars, vote, get an education, participate in politics and wear bathing suits to the beach without fear of being stoned. Seriously, it’s awesome!!! Which leads me to the reason I’m writing this blog.

I LOVE America. It’s not perfect. But what place is? And now we have people kneeling to the American flag, burning the flag, using really rude gestures to bring “awareness” to discrimination. Back when women were burning their bras for equality, at least they weren’t hurting others in the process. YES, it’s your “free speech and American right” to protest the anthem and the flag, BUT you ARE hurting many people in the process. And you know what, I hate HATE. And your actions – to me – are absolutely, positively a form of hate speech in my opinion.

When I see people burning the LGBT rainbow flag in opposition to homosexuality, it makes me sick to my stomach. Whether you agree with homosexuality or not, there is no reason to do that even if it is your American right and freedom to do so. You can have your view without hurting others. When I see people picketing abortion clinics and calling broken women murderers, it makes me sick to my stomach. Whether you agree with abortion or not, there is no reason to spew hate even if it is your American right and freedom to do so. You can have your view without hurting others. When I see people using racial slurs and getting up in someone’s face (like white supremacists do or like people did to Muslims after 911), it makes me sick to my stomach. You can have your view without hurting others. And when I see a group of people kneel to the American flag which is a kick in the stomach to MANY Americans, I view that as wrong also. To me, it is a form of hate speech. And I hate HATE. Even if it’s your right to do so, you can have your view without hurting the Americans who do LOVE this country and honor the USA. The feelings behind the actions matter but that does not make the action right. I can really have an issue with my parents but that doesn’t give me the right to show disrespect and dishonor to them.

When the social media firestorm started, some people were saying that kneeling to the American flag is not about the flag and that the flag is just a piece of cloth. I tried to understand that position, but it’s just not true. Symbols have meaning. Whether it’s the cross, the tomb of the unknown soldier, the Robert E Lee monument, the American flag, the LGBT rainbow flag, the confederate flag (oh yes – many people hated the confederate flag. Apparently that flag meant more than a mere piece of cloth but now it’s not about the flag… ok…), these items are symbols that have meaning. Symbols have meaning. Period. It’s why people get tattoos of very specific things that have meaning to them. It’s not “just a tattoo”, it’s a symbol and to that person it matters. Again, the feelings are important but that does not excuse rude behavior.

To me America is the best country ever. If you come visit me at my house – and you’re welcome here regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc – there is an American flag flying in my front yard, one on our garage wall, and military flags in each of my boys’ bedrooms. Their Dad was in the Navy (and even worked on the presidents helicopters back in the day) and the kids want to go into the military too. We love God, our country, and people.

Right now all I am seeing clearly is a double standard. One minute a flag is offensive (because it offends you) and then the next day it’s not personal (because it offends me). And that’s just not right.

#StandfortheFlag

Iced tea cheers your way.

 

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