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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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.)

chronic illness, entertainment, family, gratitude, journey, self care

The Miracle Season…

When I was very, very young I would travel from the very southern bits of New Mexico, up to a children’s hospital in Albuquerque. From such an early age I remember both loving and hating these visits. The road trip, complete with fun music and McDonald’s (a luxury we did not have in our small town) made the trip an adventure. To top it off, we would stay in a motel. As if my young little self didn’t have enough to be excited about, the motel was the icing on the cake. I still, nearly forty years later, remember the details of this dilapidated brick structure. Knowing what I know now, this place was likely a dump, but then it was just awe and wonder…

The hospital visits, on the other hand, weren’t so magical. They consisted of painful examinations, serious conversations (that I did not understand) and humiliating “tests” where I would have to run down the hallway, while a team of staff watched me. Because I have a hip disorder I was growing extremely pigeon-toed. As you can imagine, those “runs” were mostly me falling and being yelled at to get up, again and again and again. I would return to the hotel room covered in bruises, sitting with ice packs and being massaged with Ben Gay. In addition, my weight did not sit correctly upon my feet. At 8 and 9 years old I had more times than I can remember of having to quit riding bikes or walking because my right hip and foot were in so much pain that it was unbearable. I eventually began to understand that most other kids my age did not have such chronic pain. Most other kids didn’t have to stop on the walk to school and sit in the desert, because the pain was just too much. The dream of maybe playing sports one day was an unlikely one which I didn’t really allow myself to have.

As I have mentioned before, I went to live in a group home when I was twelve. The group home required several tasks of routine hard labor and some of the things (bucking hay, for instance) were brutally painful. There were no exceptions and I had to learn to move through the pain. As time passed, and I moved in to high school, I also faced the fact that team sports (through our private school) was also not an option. Volleyball and basketball were expected, and painfully I complied.

Some practices were nauseatingly pain riddled, especially where basketball was concerned. The hustle expected, honestly wasn’t really possible. When I tearfully would offer my best, I was torn down so eventually my most logical response was to stop trying. This led to a lot of consequential actions being administered before I was finally benched. Volleyball though, the game of volleyball I loved. Some practice and games had pain, but eventually I worked through it. I loved being a part of a team. That part of it, the belonging, the needing and the being needed- that was exhilarating. (Plus, the sport itself was fun, which helped.) Basketball had always left me feeling like I was letting my team down, and in actuality I was. I was sick and angry with myself over it then, but I can admit it now…

By the time I graduated, I was a pretty descent volleyball player in our small private league. (also, if you’re curious, I grew to love the exertion of doing hay and my body, though it still hurt, had adapted to appreciate it too.) I pushed through my pain and began jogging several times a week, and though I knew I’d likely never make it as a “real” athlete, I had grown to really appreciate how far I’d come. Over the years I have had to learn to listen to my body, as well as admit that pushing through wasn’t likely always the best choice. Even so, I learned a lot from the effort and the trying, and I learned so much from being part of our team.

I am still, though not a sports player, an avid team player. I derive a lot of strength from my support system and offer myself, in every way capable, as a supportive player. When I was deep in the trenches of my struggles with abandonment, being a part of teams (both in sports and drama) met the needs I had and allowed me to contribute to the symbiotic system with others. I would not be the person, wife, writer, friend or woman I have now if I had not learned those things…

Have you seen the trailer for The Miracle Season? Based on the inspiring true story of West High School girls’ volleyball team.  After the tragic death of the school’s star player Caroline “Line” Found, the remaining team players must band together under the guidance of their tough-love coach in hope of winning the state championship. The Miracle Season is in theaters this Friday (April 6th) and I am excited to see the hope and encouragement that this amazing story will share with its audience.

This trailer gives me chills EVERY SINGLE TIME.

The easily critical (myself sometimes included) love to criticize the emphasis and attention that we American’s put on sports. As I mentioned, I am guilty of this too. With a son in the Army, it kills my heart to see how our service men & women are compensated and treated while our Athletes are often worshipped. Even so though, I have to admit that whenever these truly impactful true stories of teamwork come out- I am exceptionally moved. And I must not be alone because we keep telling these stories, and the audiences always show up…

Have you ever been a part of a team, which impacted your life?

 

adoption, books, chronic illness, family, friendship, gratitude

This is forty-two…

Yesterday my youngest daughter turned nineteen. At nineteen she represents herself, to us anyway, as the authority of all things, and that’s pretty normal. At nineteen, lifetimes ago, I am sure I did the same thing. Adulthood is still new, the real complexities and woes of it are yet to really hit home. In most cases, the biggest “grown up” problems you’ve had to face are pretty nominal in comparison. At nineteen we know more than we’ve ever known so naturally we feel pretty wise…

Forty-two is completely different. I woke up this new age, and yet don’t feel very different. While nineteen seems so long ago, (and in a galaxy far, far away) with it is that feeling of knowing or understanding anything at all. I literally have nothing figured out.

Nothing…

One year ago yesterday felt like a car accident. One that I should have seen coming, but didn’t. While an adoptively rocky relationship with my daughter had always been so much, it wasn’t until that day, last year, when it really hit me- we will likely never have a real relationship. It was devastating to finally acknowledge that this child whom I had given up so much for, and invested so much of myself in, wasn’t genuinely invested in me at all. I know there are so many friends saying Misty, come on… You should have known. But I didn’t. I feared it. I worried about it. I honestly believed that if I loved her enough, forgave enough, did enough that one day it would be enough. And then I had to realize- that day wasn’t going to come.

This is forty-two… waking up, one year later, having seen the fruition of that. Having to come to terms with it, grieving the loss of what I spent my motherhood lifetime hoping would be the family I ached to have. Pushing aside the this is not fair feelings that bombard me when holidays, milestones (and yes, even this birthday), come around… It is no coincidence that Let Go chose to be my mantra for this year of my life. I am brutally learning to let go.

Letting go of the dreams of my home filled with my children and my grandkids. Letting go of that next phase it seems like everyone else experiences, of whole-healthy families coming together for the important moments… One year ago today I still dreamed this fantasy (for me) possible, today I know it is not. This is forty-two.

I do not know a single person who fought as hard to be a mother. I have three amazing kids whom I love INCREDIBLY, and not one of those relationships came easily. In each situation it was like I had to push against the world, just to make it so. Somewhere in the back of my (human and needy) mind I knew that I was fighting to bring together the family that I had spent my own youth begging for. And I tried. I did do my best, despite the vile stories floating around that someone wants people to believe about my motherhood- I do know I did my best… But it wasn’t enough. Not enough to have that family I thought I was making. Not in the way I so deeply wanted anyway.

And there in lies the miracle of it all. I wanted… I didn’t need it, even though it felt like I did, (and still honestly feels like I do). I deeply, desperately, cravingly ached for it- but it was never vital. Letting go… This is forty-two.

Looking back at the opportunities I set aside and sacrificed and feeling like now I am so far behind, but not too far behind. It may be harder now, but still possible. This is forty-two.

The journey from forty-one to forty-two has been perhaps the most brutal of them all. I am tired, weary and emotionally feel done. This added challenge of letting go is trimming my heart in ways which I was both  unprepared and are long over due. With the good-bye to forty-one, I send with it the tiny fragments of innocence which had remained.

Just because we desire something, that does not mean it will happen.

Just because we love sacrificially, with everything we have- does not mean they will love us back.

I could fill this list with a thousand lessons learned throughout this year, but the most important one (for me) is that I am ok. I do not need the things I thought I needed. I will also no longer accept the things I might have then. Someone is either all in, and willing to make effort or they aren’t. These things are not my responsibility and there is nothing I can do to motivate them for more. I do not need to prove myself to motivate anyone to find me of value, and those people I value have had me demonstrate such in infinite volumes.

Having feelings for someone does not equate to love. love requires selfless action, intent, honesty and vulnerability.

Apologies are nothing without the actions of love.

The age limit on achieving anything is societal and not reality based at all.

Those dreams and desires our hearts are built on, aren’t real either. Gravitating towards them will not make them so. Sometimes things are just really impossible, and being real about that isn’t pessimistic. Lying to ourselves (or anyone else) “optimistically” is still lying. It isn’t encouraging. It isn’t comforting. Well, maybe it is comforting in that way that you feel super sad so you eat an entire pan of brownies and a pint of ice cream. As the sugar-drug soothes, you might feel balmed… Not too long later though, you’ll either be crouched over a toiled puking your brains out, or wish you were. Not better at all. False hope, the little lies we tell ourselves because the truth is to bleak- this is the very same thing. The outcome of such dishonesty only makes us all worse off.

I am done dreaming about my future. I am done imagining a full life, of a house filled with love and laughter and the people I care about. Dreaming up the vacations, holidays and the dinner parties and all of the things I was so certain this stage of my life would be filled to the brim with. These things belong to so many other mothers and grandmothers, but not this one. Not this time. Thousands of tears have been shed over such things, but nothing ever assured me that was the place in which my motherhood journey was headed, and it’s time I let go of the emotional energy holding on to that and just move on. Whether I was not enough, did not do enough, or whatever the reasoning- it does not matter… This is forty-two.

I walk through life in a near constant headache, with a chronic illness on my back. I love some of the songs and films I have loved before, and many I do not. I enjoy doing a lot of things that I seem to never do. I live a daily life that resembles nothing I ever thought it would- and that’s ok too. This is forty-two.

I have to admit I am closer to the end, than the beginning, and there are days when I question if the end is significantly closer than I’d like it to be. That is grim, and maybe where the thoughts of this age tend to drift. I don’t know, I’m new here…

I am drawing closer those good things & people who reciprocate my time and effort, and releasing my grasp on those which don’t. It seems cold to the ones released, but I just don’t have enough strength to be the majority any more. This is forty-two.

It is honest, it is different. It is ugly and motivational. It is lonely and self-assured. It is lessons learned and ignorance with a whole lot in-between.

To celebrate this birthday I will run a few errands, drink another cup of coffee, turn my phone to silent and keep my eyes looking forward. At what, I do not know. Where I will be at forth-three I have no clue. I have hopes, but they are like clouds which change shape and drift away. I won’t pretend to have it all figured out, and I will finally admit that I have no guarantees. I spent forty-one years of my life crippled by the fear of isolation and a solo journey, and now I see that I’ve been riding this horse alone and I am ok after all. This is forty-two.

None of my favorite bands have songs named for this age, unlike 41. None of the books I am drawn to offer solace for this stage. This stage, for me, isn’t the same as it is for others. We each have our own stories and I can no longer hide my eyes from my shaping tale, simply because I had hoped and prayed for something different…

This is forty-two, and that is ok. I am ok. All false (destructive) optimism aside, I am moving forward and each lesson is a stepping stone for something real, and real is far better than an imaginary bliss any day.

I am ok.

I am not sure any birthday before had me sitting deep in the saddle of that knowledge.

books, entertainment, family, food, friendship, gratitude, home, journey, list, marriage

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

In many of the ways imaginable, THIS has been a rough week. My heart is truly at it’s breaking point, and yet the sun rises and a new day dawns. It is so hard while we are within the seasons which are heavy, but trying to grow how we can and remember this is only a season… This is where I am at this morning. I’ve brewed some fragrantly inviting cinnamon cardamom coffee and I’m sitting down to gather my day and scatter myself as needed, across its blank canvas.

When that may not work then I will simply remind myself that I am thirteen days away from vacation.

Totally off the point and random, I am dating the idea of buying one of those instamax cameras. They aren’t super expensive but the film is. Will the nostalgic idea of it wear off, leaving me disappointed? Will I wake up one day, brightly colored piece of plastic magic in hand and realize I am not sixteen and would have been better off spending my money on an anti-wrinkle cream? These are the questions which plague me. I had the opportunity to borrow one for a while, but that didn’t work out, and so I am left debating… If anyone reading this little post has one and cares to weigh in, I’d LOVE your feedback.

This week… This week was a hard week. This week was a growth week. This week was so heavy in so many ways. That being said, it’s time… And after all, it is friday-

  • My job comes with many cool opportunities and very little monetary compensation. As one who really is in favor of the barter system, this is cool. While it doesn’t necessarily put food on the table or pay the electric bill, I am pretty grateful for what it does do. While I am typically directed towards more conservative projects, where work is concerned, this past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a screening for a sweet little film called Love, Simon. (While it is my heart to respect everyone, in this space, I also realize we can’t always please everyone. If it’s not your thing, don’t go see it. Don’t engage in conversation about it. Just show grace and move on…) For anyone else- this movie is lovely. It was hilarious and so heartwarming and a pretty vital tale, for such a time as these…
  • With the mere mention of keto, your brains may be turning to jelly and your gaze growing catatonic. I promise, there is only one (well, maybe two) things. But one of them, (this one) isn’t really a keto thing… It’s just an awesome thing. Did you know that, at Five Guys, you can order this???? It is brilliant, AND tasty, and on a Keto note- really nice because sometimes life is just in need of grabbing food which you neither have to prepare or clean up from.

Regarding that last statement. Here has been our biggest annoyance regarding this little Keto adventure… THE DISHES. Seriously SO MANY dishes, all of the time. I mean, it doesn’t help that I make our dog food too, but still…

Moving on…

  • I received these awesome socks as a gift, and have had them for a few months now. They’ve been worn (a lot), washed, dried, stolen by the puppy, retrieved by the puppy, etc… and I can honestly say they are THE BEST socks I have ever had. They are comfortable, warm, cute, cozy and make me happy every time I wear them.
  • This tea, from Panera, is pretty delicious (And carb free- good news for me, should I be in a situation where an overpriced beverage is called for, it absolutely does the trick! I enjoyed it twice this week.
  • The Bacon & Butter cookbook is amazing. That’s all I can say… (here it is, the second Keto-ish point)

Lastly though, the things which I truly loved this week were my amazing husband, the miraculous fact that he was in town and my sweet friends… I HATE, HATE, HATE that my nearest and dearest kindred spirits are no where near where I am, but they are pretty lovely people and I’m super grateful for them.