What 2018 Taught Me

Last night, sitting on the sofa in the stillness of the night after Hannah and Dennis were asleep.  I sat there looking at the Christmas tree and the beautiful lights reflecting on this past year.  We are just 2 days away from a new year but there is so much 2018 has taught me; perhaps more than any other year ever.  2018 will go down as a difficult year, but it will also be a year that taught me some valuable lessons.

  • Life is precious and fleeting

This one has been the most difficult thing to learn this year.  The loss of both of my in-laws and my grandmother was both shocking and sad.  It was just another reason to remember that life isn’t guaranteed and death is inevitable.  As sad as those 3 losses were we had several other tragic losses of friends that were both unexpected and tragic and again, another reminder that life is short and we are often caught off guard when a loved one passes.

  • Don’t take health for granted

This one has been particularly a bad year for me to realize this.  Usually, our years are about Hannah’s poor health but this year it was about mine.  In May, when I got sick, it was sudden and hit me like a train.  I now have most of our questions answered and will begin treatment in 2019.  We are still awaiting one more test to be done but at least we have answers and with proper diet, exercise and medications; although life will never be like it was prior to May, I will be okay.  But, I will never again take good health for granted.  Just one more thing that can change in an instant.

  • It is okay to walk away

Sometimes walking away from toxic and mean people is just plain necessary.  You try and try and try to be kind, loving, compassionate and forgiving but some people will always dislike you no matter what.  Sometimes it is necessary to just wash your hands and not look back.  This has been one of the toughest lessons for me this year as I have truly tried to be kind and loving to those who never return it, but sometimes enough is enough and walking away is the only thing that keeps you sane.

  • Embrace your journey, no matter the difficulty

I think I FINALLY did this in 2018.  It has taken me 13 years almost to really embrace this journey God gave me with Hannah.  You have to know my whole story prior to even getting pregnant to know why this has been harder on me than some people would think.  And, there are times still where I think…..”Dear Lord, what were you thinking giving me this life.”  But, HE chose me for this.  I didn’t choose it, He chose me and thinking of it in that perspective changes your mindset.  I have a hard time not looking at the “what-if’s” in life or the “what could have been” and those are dangerous thoughts both emotionally and mentally.  I have felt over the years that I lost my identity, and in some ways I have.  I am no longer “Tamara” but either “Dennis’ wife” or “Hannah’s mom.”  That is sometimes a hard pill to swallow especially for someone like me who is quite the extrovert.  I miss going, doing, being around others.  I miss the freedom to just go and do whatever I please BUT…..with that said, this year has shown me that my purpose and my mission in life is to be Dennis’ wife and Hannah’s  mom and that is okay.  I don’t need a job to fulfill me.  I don’t need interaction with people to sustain me.  I don’t need “freedom” outside my home to get me up and ready to tackle the day.  All I need are Jesus, Dennis and Hannah.  Anything and anyone else is just icing on the cake.  This journey is not easy, in fact, often times it is extremely difficult.  Having a child who is 13 years old physically yet 5 years old mentally and emotionally is not easy on me mentally, emotionally or physically but I look back at the FACT that God chose me and He knew He would equip me and I was the best one for the job.  Realizing that and understanding that was the big key to embracing this often times very difficult journey we walk.

 

  • Be grateful for the little things……

I have learned to be grateful for the little things…..sometimes that is just that the laundry is caught up and I have a whole day where there is no laundry to do, HA!  A mind and heart towards gratefulness is huge in healing your heartaches and worries.  This has been a difficult yet needed lesson for me.  Instead of waking up in a spirit of “oh yay, I get to do the same thing all over again” I wake up thanking God for another day to be alive and to be Hannah’s mom and Dennis’ wife.  It changes your whole mindset and heart when you are grateful.  There are days where my heart and soul ache badly but I remember just how much I have to be thankful for.  A husband who works hard (often times working lots of off-duty) to provide for us.  A beautiful home, 2 good and reliable vehicles, food on our table and money in the bank.  We have all of our needs met and a lot of our wants (at least the inexpensive wants, ha).  My husband goes out of his way to help with Hannah and does more than is required of most dads when their daughter is a teenager, so I can get out of the house, run errands and have some “me” time.  I miss interacting with friends/co-workers/family but my life and journey is what God chose and I need to be grateful for that.


2018 will not go down as a “happy” year but it will go down as a learning year.  One of many trials, heartaches and valuable lessons learned.  Happy New Year friends and family.  Wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019!

Until next time………

 

 

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Hurt For The Last Time

UGH, why do we allow people to steal our joy?  Why do we allow the same people to hurt us over and over and over again?  When is it okay to say “ENOUGH?”  I think we all have someone in our life who continuously makes it their mission to wound others.  No matter how hard you try to keep the peace or love on that person; they make it impossible.  When is it okay to throw your hands up and be done?  I wish I had the answer to that question.  I mean, how long do you allow yourself to be a doormat; the place where someone continuously wipes the dirt from their feet on you and you continue to just take it?  As a Christian, I try so hard to turn the other cheek, bite my tongue and walk away but gee-wiz the more I try, the harder it becomes.

I came across this the other day:

It is so true for so many people.  Some people are in such pain themselves that all they can do is inflict pain on others.  My question though is this…..is it up to those who are being hurt to help those perpetrating the hurt to heal?  When do you walk away?  How much do you allow yourself to go through before you just can’t do it anymore?  I am wrestling with this and have no answers.  I know what the carnal side of me wants to do.  I want to throw my hands up in the air, walk away and not give a rats behind about this person ever again……I mean, how long until enough is enough and you are done?  MANY YEARS of this and I am getting to my “put a fork in me, I am done forever” place.  I refuse to allow someone to have the kind of control on me where they rob me of my joy, peace and contentment.  I have worked too hard to get in a place of being okay with my own personal heartaches and circumstances.  If you have read my blog for any length of time you know that I haven’t always been upbeat, positive and okay with my life BUT I have fought through my discontentment and my grief and I have gotten to a place of acceptance and even embracing the life God chose for me.  I have done that on my own, prayerfully without hurting others in the process.  It isn’t someone else’s fault that you are grieving, hurting or depressed.  Instead of hurting everyone around you, try reaching out or allowing others to love on you when they try.    Then I saw this and that “aha” moment hit me……it breaks my heart but I believe it to be so true.

I don’t have the answers I just know that I am at the point of walking away…….you can take so much before you just have to be done for your own sanity, well-being and peace of mind.  I keep telling myself that it isn’t a loss for me to walk away.  I mean what do I have to lose except the negativity and meanness?  I am also known to being a doormat and allowing others to walk on me, wipe their feet on me time and time again and I am ready for that cycle to stop.  Life is too short to allow others to be mean to you, treat you like the dirt under their feet and treat you like you don’t matter.

What a heartbreaking post to write, but today it hit me like a ton of bricks after I saw something on Facebook (I tell you sometimes Facebook is of the devil).  Hopefully I will do a lighter, happier post before the end of the year now.  Hate to end the year on this note but if I didn’t get it out, I thought I might explode.  I welcome your feedback on how you handle difficult and hurting people…….perhaps something you say might help me know better how to handle my own personal situation……my heart is broken but I am out of options at this point and I am just done.

Until next time…….

My Guy

For some reason today I am a little more mushy and sentimental than normal.  That is saying something too as I am not a very mushy or sentimental person (AT ALL).  It is funny, over the years I have compared Dennis and me and our upbringings when it comes to the loving, sentimental, mushiness and we are polar opposites.  Dennis and I were raised in very similar regards except for that aspect.  My family was not mushy, lovey-dovey, sentimental like his was.  I wasn’t raised in a hugging, kissing, saying “I love you” type of way.  Don’t get me wrong, I knew I was loved we just didn’t show it well.  Dennis, on the other hand was.  So, it was a shock to my system when he and I started dating.  It took a long time for me to be comfortable with all of that.  So, I give Dennis the credit for me being more affectionate than I used to be.  I still find it difficult at times to be a hugger, kisser or say the words “I love you,” but I have come a long way.

I love that Dennis loves me, our families and others the way that he does.  Dennis has no problem loving on people…..I am still more standoff-ish.  I admire that about him.  Of course, if you ever had the honor of meeting his dad; you know he gets it honestly.

This has been a difficult year for our family and especially for Dennis.  Starting out last January we knew we wouldn’t have long with his dad but we had no clue that just 3 months after losing his dad in May that we would lose his mom too.  Those losses were hard on Dennis, his sisters, and our families.  I will admit, I was worried about Dennis.  Could he bounce back quick?  Would he hit some stage of depression that would be hard to get out of?  Would he be angry?  I had a lot of questions on how he would handle it and of course had no way to have those questions answered…..I just had to a wait and see.  I tried to love and support him the best way I knew how and I hope he knows that I was there for him every step of the way and I pray he felt that.

Dennis has done so well.  I think watching his parents suffer for so long; even though losing them was devastating, he was happy they were no longer suffering.  He has bad moments but he hides them well.  He has taken the losses of this year though and made sure he has shown me, Hannah and others how much he loves us.  He has been more caring and sensitive to others (especially those who have gone through loss).  He has been extremely helpful to me since I got sick in May and he continues to support, encourage and love me through this illness.  He has been amazing and I know it is because he realized this year just how quick life can change and how important it is to be there for others.

His parents would be so proud of him.  The ways he has taken his hurt and grief and used it to help others endure their own hardships.  God knew 2018 was going to be a hard year for us but he intricately wove a lot of joy, peace and love into that hurt and grief so we could use it for His honor.  Dennis has done that.  He has taken his heartbreak and used if for Christ and I am so proud of him.  This past year has been one of our most difficult but watching God work through Dennis has made me so very proud.

This man…..yes, he is my husband but also my best friend.  My confidant, my encourager, my supporter (financially, mentally and emotionally) and my heart.  I am so proud of him.  He does everything well.  Yes, he has his faults (trust me, I know better than anyone) but he truly tries to do everything to the best of his ability.  His jobs, his friendships, his life with us here at home.  I just felt the need today as I was sitting here thinking about him and ALL he does for Hannah and me and needed to share it.  I am not what most would consider “high maintenance” but I am not “low maintenance” either and he makes sure I have all of my needs met and a lot of my wants.  He loves to do for me and I am so thankful for that…..(I write this as I have kitchen renovation estimates coming in, ha)!  He is my rock and my provider and I am so thankful for him.

This might be my last post until the new year (maybe not;  depends on my time management skills), but I wanted to make the end of the year post about my guy……I love you Dennis.  Thank you for choosing me and loving Hannah and me with all of your heart!  We love you with all we are!

Two peas in a pod!

A little throwback Christmas Picture of my little family!

Until next time…….

 

Raising The “Old People”

Let me preface this blog post with the following:

I am showing no disrespect to my parents writing this.  This is in jest, but there is truth woven into it.  I want to make sure before you read this, that my parents know me and know that even though I am making fun of them (in a way) that I love them dearly.  With that said, sit back and enjoy!

Watching your parents age is not fun in a lot of ways.  It is true what they say…..once an adult, twice a child.  I am afraid my brother and I are entering the terrible two’s with my parents……some things I have noticed….

  • Old(er) people become pack rats and clutter-mongers (if that is even a thing, I am almost certain I just made up a new word).  There is not an empty spot on my parent’s dining room table or countertops.  It is filled with bottles, cups, paperwork, pens, medicine organizers, mail, an iPad…..etc.
  • There are multiple pairs of reading glasses laying everywhere
  • There are candy dishes on every table in the house…..who is eating this stuff…..it is just the 2 of them and the cat…..I swear, one of the candy dishes has andes chocolate mints in it that have to be 14 years old.
  • Let’s talk area rugs…..what is it with area rugs?  Cleaning my mom’s house yesterday I spent more time shaking off and vacuuming area rugs than I did the rest of the flooring.  I don’t understand area rugs all over the house.  Do we really need area rugs on top of carpet?  Perhaps they do, just a question in my mind that I would like answered.  Oh and while on the subject of area rugs…..if you are going to have them, don’t use the ones that your mother had in your home when you were growing up 75 years ago…..K?
  • There are multiple towels on the cloth sofa covering every spot so the cat won’t leave fur on the furniture.  There is also a towel on the bed in the guest room where the cat lays in the afternoon sun.  Let’s be real…..there is cat hair EVERYWHERE, the sofa and bed are not the only place sweet Simon lays his very weary head……
  • Plants, gobs of live plants on the back patio……no one ever goes out there except to water the dang plants……or the cat goes out there and eats the plants and then vomits on the carpet.
  • Pictures……tons of pictures in frames on every square inch of every surface…….some are pictures of people I don’t even know.  Perhaps they are the pictures that came in the frames?
  • Bathrobes…..I think my mom has 37 bathrobes; yet I have never seen her wear one!
  • They live in Florida……I think I counted 29 coats that my dad has.  They leave their air on 80 degrees.  I get heat stroke each time I am in their house.  I may or may not turn their thermostat down to 70 degrees when I am there.  They (especially dad) are always freezing.  How?  Again, they live in the hottest state in the USA and they make sure their home is hotter than any home in the USA!
  • The glasses in the kitchen and towels in the kitchen I do believe were purchased before I was born (I am 46 years old).
  • Let’s not even talk about the disposable butter, sour cream, cottage cheese, and yogurt containers that have been washed and stored in the kitchen cabinets.  In fact, I would venture to say there are more of those type containers in the kitchen than any other kind of container, serving dish or plate!
  • They (especially the old man) are so worried about money.  He is afraid that there isn’t enough to take care of he and mom in their “golden years.”  I hate to inform him that they reached their “golden years” about 25 years ago…..but I digress.  He is so worried…..like my brother and I are just going to feed him to the wolves if his money runs out (which I can guarantee you, it won’t).  He is so worried about paying for a housekeeper (which they need)….although the “free” maid they have (ummmm, ME) is by far the better choice in their eyes.  Not that I do any better of a job…..just that I do it for free!  Dad keeps saying, “I want to make sure I leave you kids some money.”  My brother and I have both responded on numerous occasions….”it is your money, you earned it, go spend it.”  A housekeeper would be a great place to start!  HA!
  • DIETS…..okay, my mom and dad are ALWAYS on a diet.  I have never known 2 people more worried about their weight than they are.  They both weigh themselves daily…..it’s like the scale is going to change drastically one way or another in a 24-hour period of time.  Of course, this takes me back to the bullet points about candy…..in dishes…..all over the house!  WHY?
  • Mom informed me yesterday that she and dad want to go to Nashville the week between Christmas and New Year’s……they both hate cold weather, they neither one like country music; in fact dad hates ALL music, they don’t drink, party or go to bars (hello downtown Nashville that is about all there is to do).  They don’t care about museums (at least country music ones) and dad refuses to pay more than $49.99 per night for a hotel.  I am just guessing here (actually it is a well-educated guess) but Nashville is not for Pat and Jerry.
  • They love cats.  Dad won’t admit it but he loves cats…..all cats…..especially his cat Simon.  They talk to the cat.  Simon talks back.  They laugh.  They find him funny.  Simon is a toddler trapped in a 13-year-old cat’s body.  They treat him like their child.  They co-sleep with the cat.  The cat lives a life of luxury and they wouldn’t have it any other way.  Simon is probably inheriting everything.  Simon is loved.
  • Mom and dad both still work……dad full time; mom nearly full-time.  WHY you ask?  I have no clue…….I can’t answer this question.  I can’t wrap my head around this question.  Retire already people!  Of course I have tried telling them that (especially when mom got sick in August).  Did they listen?  Nope, nada, negative……they are stubborn.  Both of them are!
  • Stubborn…..oh that is a crazy gene.  Yes, I said stubborn was a gene.  Both their mama’s had it and now both of them have it and most likely my brother and I will be impossible to deal with when we hit our “golden years.”  Thanks mom and dad……

Again, there is lots of truth woven into this but I did take liberties to poke fun.  With this all said……I am thankful I still have my parents even though their recent toddler stage is going to do me in (more with worry than anything else).  I am sure there might be more stories to tell in the coming days, months and years……for now enjoy some pictures of the “Old People.”

My handsome dad when he was in the Air Force (approximately 60 or so years ago).

 

My beautiful mom…..High School graduation…..many moons ago!

 

Look at those kids!

 

Jerry and Pat before children

 

Mom…..that hair! Ooohhhh, dad had hair! Cute kids there!

 

2007 perhaps??

Now to prove their love (especially dad’s) of cats:

 

This cat’s name was BOK….dad named him. BOK stood for “Big Orange Kitty.” Dad with my precious niece Megan!

 

2 best cats in the world…..Duke and Dutch, may they continue to rest in peace! Loved those babies. Duke lived 18 years and Dutch lived 16 years. They were brothers. Funny story…..Dutch had passed and Duke had gone blind, but he still co-slept with mom and dad. One night about 2am, Duke was sleeping next to mom. He got up, walked across mom, got on top of dad and peed…..all over him. At least that is the story dad tells…..we still aren’t quite sure if Duke really peed on dad or if dad……well, you know!

 

Some random cat dad picked up in the Bahamas! No lie!

 

Dad and my brother Simon…..yes, the cat is a person!

 

Cecil looking at me like “get these old people away from me please.” No, they don’t like cats at all…….

 

Family Christmas years ago. Mom wanted a family picture. Dad refused UNLESS Simon the cat could be in the picture too. As you can see, dad won!

Until next time………