chronic illness, depression, family, friendship, journey, marriage, writing

Turn…

This is the week when I plunge back into joining the FMF writing challenge. I used to participate every week but, well, it’s been a long season in my journey…

Start.

To everything- turn, turn, turn… 

There is a season- turn, turn, turn… 

Turning seems more like churning these days. I grow weary. Who am I kidding? I’ve grown weary and I am worn. Torn, and battle weak. With tears streaming, as I drove, voice cracking as I alternated singing along with Hillary Scott and asking God why it always has to be so hard. I read once that for some it is always hard, that’s the path for them. For others it is always easy.

Screw my path, then, because I want theirs.

To everything- turn, turn, turn… 

I’m ready for a new season. A season of something other than aching inside and out, isolation, loneliness, a never ending weather winter. I long for connection and conversations, face to face laughter till my side aches.

There is a season- turn, turn, turn… 

My faith feels weak these days. It isn’t. I am solid and I know what I know, and that isn’t being shaken, yet somehow I feel low-blood-sugar jittery about it all. Where I stand, who I am, what I’m worth. That deep rooted feeling of how things never work out for me, grips me tight.

I want to be, breathe, believe. I want to wait and not feel discouraged, and I think I did that once. For a long once. And then my years long life winter wore me down.

The churning feels destructive, though it won’t take me down I will honestly (maybe) wish it would. Maybe I do.

But turn, turn, turn…and a time for every purpose, under heaven- I’m ready.

STOP

 

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books, chronic illness, journey, list, marriage, self care

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

You guys…

You guys, you guys, YOU GUYS! April has been wild! I can’t even believe what has happened, and how quickly things have just BLOWN UP! And by blown up, I mean it so many variations… Good, not-so-great, awesome, stressful… I am (SO) excited about things ahead, and trying to remain every thankful. And you make it easy! I am so grateful for my readers here, in this little space. I am grateful for your likes and love, your comments and the notes you send! I have said this so much this week, but your support is AWESOME and I love you guys! (And in case you missed it, Episode 2 of the Collective podcast is live now! Episode details, notes and how to listen are all available here!)

YOU Are my number one favorite thing!

And these:

  • This awesome little notepad has made this list before. It is just THAT Awesome! But really, I love the little games and notes Chw and I leave one another!
  • Speaking of showers… Being a skin care enthusiast and all, I stick with shower products which are free of parabens and sulfates. I really like that options are increasing, and this little bottle of magical scented wonder is my new obsession. The description of scent had me thinking NO WAY, but I love it! Intoxicating!
  • It is NO SECRET that I adore Shauna Niequist. In fact, if you’ve known me for over fifteen minutes, I have probably mentioned her once or twice already. (ADORE, ADORE and love her!) I am slowly making my way through her book Bread & Wine. It is the only book of her that I’ve not read, and the truth is I pre-bought it forever ago. I kept it beautifully sat aside, waiting on a special time to read it. I’ve packed it for three trips, naively thinking I’d have time to lose myself in it. Instead I was encouraged to crack it open now, in the season of stress and anxiety… So slowly, I read on. While I stand by my theory that it deserved a special time where I could devote myself to it, I am really glad to be reading it now.
  • I am obsessed with this song! I’ll be honest, I am all together mesmerized and creeped out by the video. On my third observation I had to admit the eyes are my favorite… The lyrics though, I love them!

I’ve got to be honest, it’s been a hard week. I’ve had a lot of work stuff, the weather has been brutal, my mom was in the hospital (hence the not posting a friday post, last week), tensions are high, sleep is rare and I’ve managed to transition from one sick dog to another. As I am typing this, it is 1 A.M. and I am in the gloriousness (*sarcasm*) that is a Fibro-flare. I hurt terribly and, living in a second story condo, each and every time my poor pups need to be sick, it’s up and down the stairs. I have made that trip today well over fifty times, and there is no end in site. I am super discouraged about a lot of things… Like spring. WHEN WILL SPRING BE REAL? Is spring like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny? Is it something we tell kids to manipulate them into being good?

Wednesday night I went to an event in “Detroit” (which was not actually anywhere near Detroit. They ALWAYS do that with events here, it’s like people might just be a bit terrified to go into the city. Detroit is AWESOME, world, GO!) where I was assaulted with pellets of hail as I travelled from vehicle to venue door. (I think it was like a 47 mile walk, though it could have been less. The welting balls of ice may have had a way of distorting my perception of the distance.) As I was walking, stinging in the exact same way Macauley Culkin’s sweet little My Girl character must have felt when he died*, I thought to myself THIS! This is exactly what the past 4 years have felt like. This… I’m ready for spring. Life spring, of new growth and blossoming, of warmth and ease. And also real spring…

My husband was supposed to be out town this weekend, but he’s going to be home so I am thrilled. Last weekend was terrible for us and I’m happy for the chance to redo it. (and also, happy to tag team the dog sickness situation because- TIRED…) Also, super happy to see I Feel Pretty and grill some steak. And sit in a coffee shop and read my book. These are my weekend wish list items. How about yours?

family, friendship, gratitude, journey, marriage, writing

When we listen… (and when we don’t.)

Yesterday I was sharing, with a friend, about this season in our lives when we made a wrong decision for our family. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter whose decision it was because I am a big believer in what’s yours is mine, and whats mine is yours, so yeah, we made a bad decision. With the magical vision of hindsight we will forever have the ability to reflect back and see the gigantic things trying to discourage us from this path.We are talking huge things that went beyond the nauseating gut feelings, things like apocalyptic storms, miles long car pile ups and a thousand other things which screamed into the universe TURN AROUND, GO BACK! We didn’t and in a lot of ways we still daily have the consequences of that decision.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all known better, and done it anyway. Most of us could probably attest to doing this more times than we can count. We can never go back. We don’t get a “re do”. There is no rewind and erase in life. Obviously this is not an isolated problem because, otherwise there would not be a plethora of film and books playing out these fresh-start-second-time-around scenarios.

This awesome podcast that I’ve launched with my lifelong friend is one of those things, but in the very polar opposite of ways. I have known (like KNOWN- no weather patterns, but definitely that gut feeling) that this was a direction I needed to go. There are so many aspects to this dream, from essays to books, visions of speaking engagements, etc. It is a BIG dream coupled with a vision my friend Katie and I have had, and this sweet little podcast was a step of faith, in the direction of those things. And then, totally beyond my control, so many little things fall in to place. It seems like every day, since the day of the launch, women and their stories are landing in my lap. (not literally, that would be awkward) Opportunities are opening up and this time the message being sung (not shouted) into the universe is KEEP GOING, THIS IS YOUR PATH.

I have no idea where this journey will lead, but I do know that I am loving every step of it now. (Episode two is available now.)

friendship, infertility, journey, marriage, Misc.

Authentically speaking matrimony…

We scrambled eggs and toasted bread, this weekend. There was coffee in the press, aromatically tickling the best inside of us while the ice blew around outside tugging at the less best.

It is so hard to listen to another when we cannot seem to look over the hurdle of hurts and inadequacies we choose to fence ourselves in with. We have all done this, to degrees, and the letting go is overwhelmingly vulnerable but so necessary.

If I were to ever write a book on marriage, this is absolutely the angle I would take. I would title it something akin to Get Over Yourself, and it would probably be poignantly badass and awesome. Lives and marriages would be changed and the world would bloom brighter because the divorce rate would plummet…

All from my book.

Obviously, this isn’t true. None of that would happen, and I would honestly never write about marriage. The truth is that this isn’t because I wouldn’t be qualified as much as because the world around me feels that I am not. I am asking myself quite a bit lately, how much does the world around me determine my path?

My husband and I married very young, with a very unhealthy support system, very loosely around whenever it fit their needs. We were life-broken and hurt kids, walking down the aisle to some promise of a future constructed by a mix of the 90’s church, movies and top 40 love songs. These ideas sold as ideals were all we knew to look toward, and so it was devastating when they let us down.  None of these things prepared us for emergency medical procedures in less than ideal locations, or badly mannered doctors brazenly promising you a healthy baby, while hours later you lay holding the sixteen week lifeless one in your hands while your husband wails and looks toward suicide to balm the horror throbbing from inside of him. Bloody bathroom baby funerals became the most consistent part about our early day marriage and when we looked up or called out, we were almost always left with only each other to look at.

Adultery honestly, with hind sight, kind of makes sense. Nothing within out lives made sense and everything hurt overwhelmingly, so escaping it for something which felt a little nice and was so separate from the worst life was almost a no-brainer. Of course, anyone who has ever cheated or been cheated on knows that this doesn’t take the bad away or really make it any better. It simply piles on top.

Divorce follows broken, blistered years of crash-course-adulthood almost always. In our case, had any one element been different- the support system, the miscarriages, the drowning medical debt- everything else may have changed. Had one tiny sign of life been present, the funeral would not have had to happen.

But it did…

And then a rebirth came. It was painful and gut wrenchingly beautiful and organically everything that should come from a shattered marriage moving forward. Living it was unexplainably complex.  Having grown up in the between helped immeasurably, and for that we were grateful. There was no condoning the giving up and not fighting, but we were attempting to redeem that short coming, and beauty abounded. A family miraculously came to be out of seeds of awful beginnings, and that next bit was real life littered hardships, sometimes discouraging but some how always intoxicatingly beautiful.

Gratitude. Always, there was gratitude.

But life is cyclic and shifts happen. The things which should have stayed most important slowly weren’t any longer and the slow-motion spiral stole our marriage’s breath away. Stole my breath away and silenced my heart. I have never felt so terrified, so incapable, so helpless, so worthless. So numb.

The train wreck following the slow motion fall was instantaneous and blinding. The deafening blows left my senses unable to grasp and be for weeks and weeks. When they did, I reached out to the supportive life I’d grown to nurture and found that the majority of them had been more shallowly inclined to love me than they had actually let on- once my life was shattered and bare. That is how it goes, really. Nearly every time. People love to show up when things are bright, and people love to take credit for the place they stand beside you, but when you fall most of them scatter…

Today I am with my husband. We made eggs and toast. We read a little, together, worked a little, together, and spent a cozy day confined inside while the world of never-ending winter froze just beyond our windows. The journey is long and hard and any one who has been married for any amount of extended time will know this. Not everyone tells the truth and so if someone tells you it’s great, just know they are lying to themselves more than to you.

Marriage is hard and it can be dark. It hurts more than any other relationship. When both people do their parts though, and put the other first, it is the most secure, warmest, most full filling and embracingly raw thing our human hearts can comprehend. Often what makes it so hard is that we cannot make the other person do their part or even want to, when they aren’t, which feels devestating. Sometimes they just don’t want to act on love, with us. And that sucks. When we each want to make the effort, it is so beyond anything I can find words for. Today has been a medium of that, while Friday was a not-at-all. Last weekend was a 10 out of 10.

And that is marriage. It is real, and you have to stay on top of it and protect it and work at it and honestly, there can not be time off. It is intensely 24/7, no day is a guarantee and no moment is scripted.

And when you are honest, in the train wreck times, there are people who will hold this in their memory until their very last breath. While they believe they don’t want you to fail, they also can’t get past that time when you could have. The worst part is that maybe they could have extended love and helped, but probably they didn’t, they just “care” so much to hold those moments against you.

My marriage is mine and my husband’s responsibility, but it is ignorant to pretend like no one else can hurt/harm/help it, because that just is not true.

For five months in late 2015/2016, my husband and I were separated and living in different states.  For two months, leading up to the sudden separation, things were really disconnected between us. Over that time there were counselors and others sought because we each said we wanted to have a strong marriage, and every time we were turned away. Within those five months, other people were DEFINITELY a majorly contributing problem. Those five months were two years ago. The sad expressions and gossipy questions looking for dirt never cease. This is why any book, on the topic, would never amount to anything. The social system around me would squash it from blooming. Can you believe she honestly thinks she has anything to say about marriage? Remember that time…

Allow a micro rant here- Stepping back I see this same exact thing happening in thousands of lives around me, in so many ways. Why are we rooting for the failure of others while masking it as concern? When you “well-meaningly” ignore two years of progress and healing to cut me right back to that time- it isn’t loving and it isn’t support. If all you can think to ask is how my marriage is, since the separation, then perhaps you should stop and think about the 24 years of survival and work we’ve put into it instead of the five months we were flat on our faces- and then ask yourself how you could have actually shown kindness both then and now…  And if you are one of those people and are married- shame on you for taking that self righteous path of crushing down.

Rant over…

When I want to look to someone for marriage inspiration and guidance, I look to the person who has been honest about their rollercoaster journey. THIS shows commitment, not the pretty filter image projected out there. When I want fitness/weightloss inspiration, I look to someone who has actually done it, not the naturally permanent size 4 girl with her own youtube channel. the time for authenticity is NOW…

I made eggs and toast, along side my husband. We had a few little irritations. This isn’t because of any other reason than we’re human, we have outside things in each of our lives that interfere with our thoughts and stresses. We were trapped in our house while an ice storm wailed outside. We are people. I love my husband more than any adjective could explain and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for him, within my power. My marriage isn’t great, it isn’t fine, it isn’t anything other than REAL. Just like yours…

 

friendship, gifts, gratitude, journey

Way BETTER than American Idol…

Hello Again!

 

So, we have a really exciting competition as part of our launch of The Collective podcast/community! As you are probably aware, our mission is to inspire women to bravely share their stories, (all stories, any stories) because it is through transparency that we can relate and begin to bridge gaps where society, our misconceptions and life’s heartaches have kept us in shame and isolation.

 

On Friday evening, with our launch, we would like to introduce our community to an amazing woman! (And let’s be clear- we are EACH Amazing women, none more than the other) This is where YOU come in!

 

We would love for you to nominate a woman! All you need to submit (via email or messenger) is a photo of that woman and a quick statement as to why you’re nominating her! Don’t worry; it is not a competition in any way… The winner will be selected at Random. The best part about that is that BOTH the selected nominee and the submitter will each receive a prize!

 

Submissions must be received by 11:59 EST on Thursday April 12th.

 

We hope you will take a step forward, towards building a safe and nurturing community that all women deserve! (the only requirements for submissions is that they are over the age of 18, have a US mailing address and would not be mortified by their photo being on our instagram account!)

 

We can not wait to meet your amazing women!