Silence

Silence is often golden.

Silence, whether it is for your own mental health; just a chance to regroup or if it is to keep you from saying something you shouldn’t; silence is often a very good thing.

I have a tendency to speak before I think.  Heck, I don’t have a filter, let’s just be honest.  If it goes through my brain, 9 times out of 10, it comes out my mouth.  Good, bad, ugly, indifferent, funny and not-so-funny…..if I think it, you can be pretty sure that because of the lack of a filter and the lack of impulse control, it is going to be said.  Have I said things I wish I could take back?  Many, many times and on the flip side of that, I have also said things that others are too scared to say; which is not always a bad thing; but it can be detrimental as well.

Sometimes though, when I get completely overwhelmed (like right now), silence is the best choice for me.  It keeps me from saying something that I might regret and it gives me a chance to regroup, think about the things I NEED to say and the things I WANT to say and then decide what SHOULD be said and what would be best kept to myself.  I think with age comes wisdom and the little wisdom I have gained through the years, one thing I try to do is to give myself a chance to be silent and think about things prior to speaking them.  I am not always successful at that but I try to be intentional at it when given the chance.

There is so much in this life that doesn’t bother or concern me and then there are things that literally eat me up inside.  I have learned unless you confront issues that eat you up head on, you are going to be miserable, but often times those are the most difficult issues to face.  I have also realized that no matter what bothers you in this life there will be times there is nothing you or anyone else can do about it; sometimes it just can’t be fixed.  You can try to point out and express your hurt, how you feel and why, but sometimes there is no fixing it.   You can even try with all your might to fix it yourself and find common ground and be okay with it, but sometimes no matter how hard you try, you still can’t make it okay.  You can work on yourself, you can reach out and try to find some commonality and resolve within the situation, but often times…..nothing works and you remain heartbroken, torn and weary.

Life is hard……people are difficult…..situations sometimes suck the life out of you.  We are all different.  We think and act differently.  We all have opinions, feelings and things in our life we wish we didn’t.  One issue that might not affect someone else, is devastating to you.  You have the right to your feelings….they should be taken seriously, even when ridiculous to someone else.  You matter.  Your feelings matter….it shouldn’t make a difference that no one understands.  Sometimes feelings are going to get hurt; whether they are intentional or unintentional.  Sometimes we are confronted with an issue that no matter how much you hate it, no matter how hard it is for you to handle….your hands are tied and it won’t be fixed.  You can look back and wish the situation had never occurred (trust me, I have), but all you can do is move on from here.  There are issues I will NEVER be okay with.  There are certain people I will never be okay with.  There are sad times in my life that I will never truly get past.  Some days are harder than others.  Some days I don’t let things bother me and others times situations are all-consuming.  The one thing I know is this…..we cannot please all the people all of the time and in some cases difficult choices have to be made.  The question is what is the cost for those difficult choices and if and when do we make them?

Life…..sometimes not fun, sometimes not happy, sometimes not joyful and sometimes you just have to be silent and pray that when the day comes to break your silence you speak words in truth and love.

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Until next time……….

 

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When Loneliness Sets In

Have you ever been lonely?  I would venture to say most of us, at one time or another have been.  Have you ever been lonely even when you are not alone?  Is that even possible?  Why, yes…..yes it is.  I am never alone.  I mean, I am always at home with Hannah and let me tell you she makes it clear every second that she is awake that I am not alone.  Her mouth runs from the time I hear “wake up mommy,” until I hear “sleep all night long, wake up in the morning mommy” when she goes to bed.  Heck, there are times in the middle of the night I hear her because she talks in her sleep A LOT!  So, I am rarely alone, but in full disclosure I am often very lonely.  I don’t mind being alone…..in fact, I relish the times I get to be, since they are few and far between.  I choose to shop alone.  I choose to stay up later than Dennis and Hannah most nights just to have some time to myself, so being alone isn’t the problem.  The loneliness in my heart and soul is.

I have said many times before that I was always an extrovert.  I was always the out-going one.  Never met a stranger and always the center of attention (mostly because I made myself that way).  I loved crowds.  I loved being around people and I loved talking, laughing and having fun.  These past 10 years have brought out the introvert in me; out of necessity not by choice.  Now, crowds are a BIG issue for me.  I don’t deal well in them…..I almost feel panic-stricken to be in a large crowd.  I tend now to stay in the back and more of the quiet observer instead of the charismatic loud mouth.  I am not the one to introduce myself to everyone, start conversations and put myself in the midst of all that is happening anymore.  I like small groups and I am finding through this that my groups and my friend circle continues to get smaller and smaller.

It is no one person’s fault, it is just the way life has changed me.  Circumstances have a way of changing you completely and mine truly have.  It is not a bad thing for the most part; but it is hard to remove that extrovert personality completely and it is that remaining extrovert in me that gets lonely.  Let’s just be real for a moment, shall we?  I don’t leave my home except to take Hannah to the doctor or to run errands (Publix and Target) when needed.  There are one or two nights a month that I get the chance to go out to dinner with a friend.  Other than that, you will find me here……at home…..not alone but a lot of times feeling lonely.  Again, Facebook doesn’t help when you look on there and see friends out and about shopping with each other, going on vacation, church, date nights, working, lunch dates…….all the things I used to do and enjoyed so much.

Please don’t think I am complaining…..I truly am not.  I am not sitting here green with envy….trust me there are perks to my life that many people will never know.  SO, I am very aware of my blessings but I am also very aware of the life outside my four walls that I am missing out on.  This life was NOT my choice……but it was God’s choice for me and I accept it…..wholeheartedly.  I even, most of the time, embrace it…..not always, but for the most part I do……I mean what other choice is there?  The thing is, there are people like me that aren’t necessarily alone but we do feel lonely so often.  I wish I had never experienced being an extrovert…..if I had been born an introvert this life might not be as hard for me to handle at times.  But, I am learning, I am adapting and I will be okay…..every now and then I have to tell myself that it is okay to miss things.  It is okay to miss people.  It is okay to remember the fun of past years.  Of course, you have to snap back to reality and suck it up and press on.  Today though, I am lonely.  Today I am wishing things were just a little bit different and today I wish I had a friend that could do or say something to make it all okay.

I saw this.......wish I was better at following it.......

I saw this…….wish I was better at applying it…….

Until next time…….

A Day To Celebrate

Today is a special day.  Many years ago today (I won’t say how many) a little boy was born.  A little boy who grew up to be an incredible man.  A man who has an incredible work ethic, a man who loves God, loves his family and his friends.  A man who puts his wife and daughter as his priority and works really hard to provide.  A man who doesn’t back down to anyone yet has a genuinely compassionate heart; truly one of the strongest men I know mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  One of the few men who truly makes me laugh even when I feel like crying.  The man God created just for me because God knew He was probably the only man on the planet who could handle me……..

If you haven’t guessed…..today is Dennis’ birthday.  With every birthday we have celebrated he will tell me, it’s no big deal, just another birthday but to me, it is a big deal.  He should be celebrated because of who he is and the daily sacrifices he has made for Hannah and me.  Lots of men sacrifice for their families, and in my opinion, they should…..but, because I see it daily and reap the benefits of his sacrifice, I am a little biased when it comes to him.

Let me share a little story with you…….

When we found out I was pregnant with Hannah, it was somewhat of a shock.  Yes, we had been trying but I had NO clue it would happen as quickly as it did.  I had been told years earlier that due to an injury when I was a teenager, getting pregnant might be hard, if not impossible.  So, that morning I woke up and took a pregnancy test and it came back positive, I was shocked and then I had a very blonde moment when I saw the plus sign was blue, I just assumed we were having a boy!  Yes, I know…..shows how much I didn’t know about anything baby related and yes, I just showed my ignorance, but hopefully it made you chuckle.  When I told Dennis it was a boy, he just looked at me and said, “oh my….what have we just done?”  HA!  Anyway, I had a great job, with wonderful people and I only worked part-time, but it was like working full-time with the money I made.  Dennis said MANY times there was no way we could survive on his income alone so I was going to have to continue working at least part-time.  The longer the pregnancy went on and especially what we found out about Hannah at week 17, my heart got heavier and heavier about leaving her and going back to work.  I just didn’t think I would be able to do it.  I would say things to Dennis and he would say, we just really needed my income and I knew he was right but my heart was breaking at the thought of not being home with this little girl who would have a chromosome abnormality and a bad heart.  I just prayed……a lot!  I prayed that if it was God’s will that He would make a way for me to stay home and that He would change Dennis’ heart.  Fast forward to the day Hannah was born.  She arrived at 6:29am and it was quite a long time before we were able to go to the NICU and see her.  We just stood there over her little bassinet in NICU in silence….staring at this little girl, so fragile, with a bad heart; yet so beautiful who had completely stolen our hearts in mere seconds.  A few hours later as we continued to stare at her, without removing his eyes off of her, Dennis said……”you need to call Pam (my boss who happens to be my Aunt too) and tell her Hannah is here.”  I interrupted him and told him she already knew.  He then looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said, “no, you need to call her and let her know that you have a new full-time job staying home with our daughter and you won’t be coming back to work.”  Needless to say, I was in complete shock.  I had no clue I would ever hear those words come out of his mouth, as he had been so adamant during our pregnancy that we just couldn’t make it work without my income.  He stepped out on complete faith at that moment, trusting God to provide.  Has it been difficult at times?  Absolutely, but never once have we lacked what we needed and we even have some of our wants.  We don’t live in a big house or drive brand new cars, but we have all we could ever need.  We both have sacrificed, in different ways, but Dennis so much more than me.  He works his regular job and off-duty to provide and he doesn’t see Hannah nearly as much as he wishes he could; but it is the price he was willing and still is willing to pay for me to be home to take care of Hannah.  In fact, if you ask him today if he wanted me to go back to work or stay home, he would say with 100% assurance that he wants me at home!  Would I be home if Hannah was typically-developed or didn’t have so many health issues?  Probably not, but God knew Hannah needed me 24/7 and He changed Dennis’ heart the moment our sweet little girl was born.  For that I am extremely grateful to both the Lord and Dennis.

Sacrificing, Loving, Hard-working, Caring, Strong, Compassionate, Protective, Funny……all words I would use to describe my husband.  Does he have his faults?  Oh heck yeah, but don’t we all?  I wish everyone could see the man I see.  I wish everyone could see the daddy he is, the husband he is, son, brother and friend……..I am so incredibly blessed God chose Dennis for me and so very thankful I get to spend another birthday with him to tell the world just how special he is and how much he is loved.

Happy Birthday baby…….I hope Hannah and I can make today extra special for you!  We love you with all of our hearts!

 

He would get mad at me for putting his picture on my blog so I thought I would share one of my favorite memories of Hannah and Dennis walking to school. I love these 2 with all I have!

He would get mad at me for putting his picture on my blog so I thought I would share one of my favorite memories of Hannah and Dennis walking to school several years ago. I love these 2 with all I have!

Until next time…………

Free Rent

Over the years, I have been so guilty of allowing people, things, negativity and circumstances to have free rent in my heart and in my head.  Things and issues I have had absolutely ZERO control over and yet I dwell on it to the point I allow it to steal my joy and peace.  Things people do or say that have hurt so deeply, yet I just haven’t allowed myself to “let it go” and move forward; away from the hurt and negative influences.

Something happened yesterday that seriously broke my heart and made me angry all at the same time.  But, after “venting” to the 2 poor souls that I always vent to, it finally hit me that there are just things and people who I have no control over and I cannot continue to allow those things, people and situations to live rent free anymore.

I think women have a greater tendency to dwell on things, harp on things and feel the need to discuss the same things over and over and over again (with still no resolution) and we (me) have more trouble just “considering the source” (as my husband tells me ALL.THE.TIME) and just forgetting about it, letting go and moving on.

Yesterday was kind of a wake-up call for me.  The same issue, the same circumstance, the same disappointment and there is ABSOLUTELY nothing I can do to change it.  Dwelling on it, allowing it to have free rent in my heart and my head and not getting past it, is only hurting me!  I refuse to let things I cannot control, control me!  I am not going to allow it anymore.  The thing is people are going to disappoint us.  People are going to let us down, stab us in the back and not extend grace (even though it has been asked for repeatedly).  We (all people) are confusing beings.  None of us can truly relate to each other.  We all at times shake our head not understanding others.  We all have been on the other end and completely misunderstood.  We all have our own thoughts, feelings and beliefs.  We cannot allow others to hurt us or disappoint us to where we lose our joy, peace and contentment.

Some things in life are out of our control and trying to change it or control it; only hurts us.  I am done dwelling on and continuing to be hurt by the same thing over and over again……life is too short to waste energy and time on things that you can’t do anything about.

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Until next time……..

A Weekend To Remember

OH where to begin?  We had such a wonderful weekend!  Every year for the past 3 years, Henny’s Puppy Raisers, Marty and Cathy have invited us to attend the Tails and Tales Gala.  It is a fundraising Gala to benefit Canine Companions for Independence!  It is a wonderful time with silent and live auctions, great entertainment, wonderful food and drinks and all of it benefits an organization so near and dear to our hearts.  Canine Companions for Independence motto is that they train “exceptional dogs for exceptional people,” and that is an amazing thing for those of us who have had the honor of receiving a CCI dog.  Yes, Henny isn’t with us right now due to Hannah having been so sick the past 2 years but our hope and prayer is that we will bring her home either by Christmas or the first of the year.  I have to make an appointment to go back to Orlando and get re-certified to be Henny’s handler.  Once I do that and we are sure Hannah is ready, we will bring Henny home.

Anyway, back to the weekend…….Dennis and I left here on Friday evening and went to stay the night at Marty and Cathy’s house.  We had a wonderful time as always with them and our good mutual friends Jeff and Lori.

Lori and me!

Lori and me!

We laughed and talked for hours!  We were able to visit with Henny and all her “sisters.”  Marty and Cathy have 5 other dogs including Henny so that is always fun!

Me and Henny-girl!

Henny and me!

 

Henny and her sisters!

Henny and her sisters!

Saturday morning we woke up and leisurely made our way to the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort where the Gala was being held.  We checked in and got ready and then headed to the Gala.  They rolled out the red carpet for us and we were treated as VIP’s  (thank you Cathy) and enjoyed wonderful drinks and appetizers with good friends.  We then headed into dinner where they served us a gourmet dinner of salad, steak, shrimp, veggies and potatoes.  Now, at this point I was already stuffed and dessert hadn’t even made its way out.  Once dessert got there….well, let’s say I over-indulged!  HA!

Dessert!

Dessert!

There was a wonderful testimony from a CCI graduate and her companion dog and then Bruce Hornsby performed for about an hour!

Bruce Hornsby!

Bruce Hornsby!

It was a wonderful night of fun, excitement and entertainment.  We are always so thankful to be invited by Marty and Cathy and honored that they consider us family!  We are so blessed with wonderful Puppy Raisers who are adopted family to us!

Dennis and I traveled home on Sunday and came home to a very happy little girl who had an incredibly fun weekend herself.  Thankful for friends and family who are willing and able to help us with Hannah so we can get away for short trips occasionally.  Thankful Hannah is in a better place right now and not flaring so we could get away and not worry about her medically.

I live for this event every year!  I believe so much in this organization and the way these dogs truly add to and benefit “differently-abled” kids and adults lives!  We saw Henny do so much for Hannah the year and a half that we had her and we look forward to seeing that continue when we bring Henny back home.  Thank you Marty and Cathy for taking care of our sweet dog, treating us like family, welcoming us into your home and loving ALL of us!  You are more than friends…..more than Puppy Raisers……you are family!

Until next time……….

 

The Lesson I Learned From My Best Friend, Angie……..

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I saw this picture the other day and the words jumped off the page at me, not in a negative way but in an eye-opening way.  Something that I have learned in my journey and couldn’t put into words.

Many of you know that I lost my best friend a few years ago to breast cancer.  Angie and I had been friends for 40 years.  We were inseparable during high school and college.  I was in her wedding and she was in my first one too!  We always kept in touch even though our lives got busy and went in two totally different directions; she was always there for me and me for her.  When I got divorced she was the one I called and cried to.  She was one of the few people who didn’t judge my bad choices (EVER) and was always there to pick me up when I fell flat on my face (which trust me, was more than once).  She was the one…..the friend that you don’t think you can ever live without.  Unfortunately, for me, cancer took her from me almost 3 years ago.  Angie was the one I called when anything happened with Hannah.  She was my sounding board, my voice of Godly wisdom and at times the one that kept my feet firmly planted in God’s word and on the ground so I didn’t do anything stupid (like running  away to a deserted island to drink little umbrella drinks).  Angie, at times, was the only person I had to turn to because she never judged, she never looked down on  me and she always spoke TRUTH to me……I haven’t had that since she has been gone.

Don’t get me wrong, I have friends…..some really good ones who I am so thankful for.  I have a handful of friends and one imparticular that is up there with who Angie was for and to me.  Unfortunately, my friend Donna lives in Alabama so seeing her is not an option like I wish it was.  The truth of the matter is, when Angie left us for Heaven I was left alone.  I learned I had to survive her death and move forward on my own without my sounding board, without my voice of reason and without my best friend.

Angie passed away before this horrific sick, PANDAS journey started with Hannah.  When Hannah got so sick, I longed for a phone that reached Heaven.  I missed my friend so desperately and I knew she would have the words and the scriptures to back them up!  I had to do it alone.  Many times I would sit and say to myself, “What would Angie do?  What would Angie say right now?”  I learned in those moments to be my own best friend.  I learned to be the friend to myself that Angie was to me for 40 years.  I learned to LOVE myself, to BELIEVE in myself and to RESPECT myself; all the things that Angie represented not only to herself but to those of us fortunate enough to call her our friend.  She loved me, believed in me and respected me even through all the years I didn’t love, believe in or respect myself.  She never gave up on me, not even once!  She taught me so much, but now looking back over this past nearly 3 years that she has been gone, when I saw this picture I realized she taught me how to love, believe in and respect myself, thus being the friend to myself that she always was!

What a wonderful last gift she gave me.  What an honor that she instilled those qualities in me so when the time came I would be able to reach way down and find those gifts and put them to good use.  Would I rather still have Angie here, OH WITHOUT A DOUBT!  Do I still miss her every.single.day, YES!  But, I will say this…..she gave me so much.  She gave me so much of herself; she invested in me for 40 years and even when it appeared I was a hopeless case that could never be brought back from the brink of disaster, she stuck by me.  She was the person God used time after time after time to reach down and pick me up and speak truth to me in love.  I don’t know if she even realized the impact she had on me and it was only after she was gone that I truly realized the gift of love, believing in myself and respecting myself that she gave to me.  I miss her but I am so incredibly thankful for the way God used her in my life. If you have a friend like that, be sure to tell them.  Be sure to let them know you love them, because you never know if you will have tomorrow with them.

Thank you Angie…..thank you for being my best friend and for helping me learn to be my own best friend so I could continue to move forward when God called you home!  I love you….save me a seat at your table in Heaven…..we have a lot of catching up to do!

My best friend Angie and Hannah.....they had a special love for each other!

My best friend Angie and Hannah…..they had a special love for each other!

 

Lifelong friends From left to right: Me, Angie Murray, Whitney Hancock and Misti Green

Lifelong friends
From left to right:
Me, Angie Murray, Whitney Hancock and Misti Green

Until next time………

 

Words

Words…..they can build someone up or they can tear someone down.  Words can soothe an aching heart or cause more heartbreak.  Words can make you smile or they can make you cry.  Words can bring out all kinds of emotions…..and we need to be so careful how we use them.

I have been guilty many times of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.  Either out of anger or frustration and afterwards those words leave scars that never heal.  You can truly destroy someone with simple yet powerful words or you can help them; bring them up out of a pit and help them heal with words as well.  I have been on both sides in receiving words and I have been on both sides of saying words!  With that said, some of the worst words I have said, and some of the worst things I have allowed myself to think have been directed at none other than myself.  Instead of filling my mind with words of affirmation and truth for what I am good at or what I do right; I tend to be my own worst critic and tear myself down more than building myself up.

I read a blog this week that changed my perspective completely.  I don’t know this lady personally but I do know and admire one of her dear friends, who has not only become a dear friend to me but a lady that I admire and respect and has helped me see my life and my circumstances through different eyes.  My friend Carolyn is quite different from most people I know.  She is strong, courageous, speaks her mind, loves people and is probably the most authentic and REAL person I have EVER known.  Funny thing is, I have never met Carolyn in person but we are friends on Facebook and have had many private conversations.  She is an encourager, she speaks words of affirmation, encouragement and TRUTH!  Oh my, I could write a book about Carolyn and the friend she has become to me.  She is that person I watch, listen to and completely stand in awe of because NOTHING and NO ONE holds her back!  She is pretty amazing.  Anyway, she has a friend who wrote a blog the other day and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  I hope she doesn’t mind if I share it but here it is:

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Her blog is called:  From The Heart….love, life and loss.  The blog post that she wrote the other day was entitled….Dear Self, Be Kind

She talks about words and how they are her love language, how she loves to give and receive them and how they fill her tank.  But then she goes on to talk about the words we use towards ourselves…..how so often we tear ourselves down.  In fact here is what she says:

“But what about when I am the careless speaker, uttering hurtful, painful lies over my own soul? What if I am the one that thoughtlessly aims and fires those daggers? How many times I am the one that hurls insult at my already broken heart?”  

Then she goes on to say that we wouldn’t allow anyone to talk that way about our loved ones; a spouse or a child so why do we do it to ourselves?  Then, she challenged her readers to speak truth to themselves and write themselves a love letter.  This is harder than I thought it would be, but I wanted to try.  I want to be a person that speaks words of truth and affirmation to myself and BELIEVE those words.  Focusing more on my abilities and what I do well instead of what I do wrong all the time.  So…..here I go:

Dear Self,

You are loved.  You are capable.  You are worth so much.  You have a specific purpose for your existence and God has a special reason for creating you.  Life is not always fun or joyful; but He has equipped you with everything you need to live up to His plan and your full potential.  You are kind, you are compassionate and you have the ability to show grace in situations where grace is hard to find.  You love with all you have and you see needs in others that most never would because of the journey your life has taken.  You are able to reach out to others because of your circumstances and make an impact because you have been there.  You understand heartache like so many don’t and you have the ability to help others through their own heartaches because you have lived it.  You are not worthless and the things you do, you do with your whole heart.  You love Dennis and Hannah with your whole being and you make your house a home.  To so many, that probably isn’t enough, but for you it is everything!  You don’t need a career.   You don’t need freedom to come and go as you please.  You don’t have to go to church.  All you need to be successful is what God has given you to work with…..a heart, grace, perseverance, strength and love for those you surround yourself with.  You are worth so much…..to God, to Dennis and Hannah and to those who cross your path……you are doing what God called you to do and being who God called you to be and NOTHING is more important in this life than that!  You are beautiful and clothed in strength.  Love yourself, make time to take care of you and trust that no matter what life throws your way; you are more than capable because you have been given ALL you need by our Lord Himself!  You are okay kid!  You’ve got this!

Love,

ME

Stop tearing each other down with words.  Stop tearing yourself down.  Speak words of truth, affirmation and love.  Speak kindly to others and yourself.  Believe that you are worthy, speak it and live it.  Live your life out loud….speak it, believe it and pass it on!

I challenge you to write yourself a love letter.  Words are powerful…..choose words of kindness, love and strength!  You don’t have to share your love letter like I did, but I encourage you to!  Then, I encourage you to write someone you know a love letter…..choose someone who needs to hear it and tell them how special they are!

I was looking of a picture of me and this was the only one I could find by myself!  HA!  I don't take many pictures and I don't do selfies!  Maybe I should change that!

I was looking for a picture of me and this was the only one I could find by myself! HA! I don’t take many pictures and I don’t do selfies! Maybe I should change that!

Until next time……