May 29, 2013

Prepared and Living

I used to think I took severe weather seriously. I had a tornado bag after all, and I kept getting Captain to clean the shelter out whenever the threat was possible. But after May 19/20, after seeing the destruction which can be caused by a tornado first hand, it seems I'm taking things a little more seriously.

This morning I spent time out in the garage moving things around, cleaning things out, and moving things into the shelter which I thought about after the fact last time. We may only get thunderstorms, but if a tornado occurs again I'm a little more ready this time.

I think there is a fear of "something happening" which is nearly debilitating. We get ourselves worked up and scared and the fear stops us in our tracks. After the tornado, after I had power/cable/water restored and life looked like it always had within our home, I stopped for a moment. I understood the desperation so many can feel even when everything is fine. My thoughts ran wild, "After everything is so destroyed you have to wonder why to keep going? Why take care of the floors if they will be gone? Why make the house neat and nice if a storm can take it away and turn it to splinters? Why bother?" These thoughts circled, and once upon a time I know they would have landed and stayed.

But then I watched what was happening where everything was destroyed and turned to splinters. The people stood up and declared they would not give up. The survivors said they would build again and start over. Those who lost everything stated without a doubt that going on was worth it, and we still have life to live.

And in that moment I realized living with fear is debilitating and false. It stops you because you are fearful. And then when you face the fear and realize life doesn't end at that point and we keep going.

So, I take care of this home because it was given to us as shelter and I want it comfortable for all who enter. I clean and make things neat because this is where our family and friends grow and love. I keep going because I have been given example after example of how to do so. I plan and prepare for the worst because it surely can happen, but I wont let that stop me living today.

I take severe weather a little more seriously than I used to, but the fear I once lived with is gone. And that, my friends, is huge.

May 28, 2013

Convictions, Goals, Dreams. Individuality.

I sat on the couch turned sideways looking into his eyes as he shared with me. He talked about my heart, my giftings, and my leadings. I needed him to let me see everything through eyes which had not been altered.

You see, my goals, dreams, aspirations... they weren't mine anymore. Thoughts which belonged to others had slowly creeped in and settled down for a long winter's nap. They were good goals, inspiring people, and wonderful ideas, but I had tried to take ownership of them, and well, my friends they weren't mine to own. I couldn't see where I was supposed to be, because it felt as if I should be where everyone else was.

Yes, the one thing everyone says not to do, I did. But it didn't work. So I felt like a failure. My friends, as long as we are following someone else's path we will fail. I can't do the good works which God has made for another. I can't make someone's dream work in my life. And there are some truths about me which will not work for you.

My loving captain helped me refocus and go back to the basics of who I am. He helped me start over and reassess who I really want to be, and where I really feel called. He guided me back by listening, letting me talk, and sharing what he knows. I was grateful for him because he helped me hash and work and look forward.

I feel freer now that I have let go of the dreams which were meant for others. While I don't understand the truths for me, I have to admit I know they are there. And accepting them is so much better than trying to make the truths for another work, when they wont.

What truth are you using as a foundation which isn't yours to begin with?
Have you accepted your own truths yet?

May 27, 2013

First class... and last?

So, at the beginning of last month during my series on self-defense here, I also led a self-defense class for kids. Let me clarify, our taekwondo group held classes for adults and children, and I was in charge of the children's class.


It wasn't horrible because I had some amazing people who helped, but I have learned I'm not the best speaker. I gathered some information, and made a handout that can be altered and used again, but I think next time someone else shall be leading the class. I can think of one or two who would be perfect!

And you know, this has altered my thinking. Well, in reality, it began changing my ideas of what my ultimate goal is on this topic. I am still growing and learning, after all I'm just a green belt at this time, and I have decided to work towards my black belt by the time I'm 50, which is TOTALLY doable. But as far as leading these classes, I'm okay if it's someone else who does a better job. I'm thrilled that we are now offering this class once a quarter because we are reaching people and helping them.

And really, when it came down to it, that was my ultimate goal after all.

May 22, 2013

May 20, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma

I have no pictures. I have no videos.

I sat in the shelter under our garage with 7 other adults, 6 children and 2 dogs. We sat nervous and expecant waiting for what we were told was coming. As the sound started we all hushed and listened. I don't know if I can explain... so many have said trains, and I understand that but it doesn't quite get it. Maybe more like a rush of wind and thunder that never stops, or moves slowly through space. And then the quiet, and we sat. Our weather radio was static, and we didn't know the channel had been changed. So we sat and waited, because sometimes they come back. We didn't want to leave too soon. And I don't know what happened but a similar sound came by again and we sat and held our breaths again.

What must it have been like for those who were closer. What must it have been like for those who experienced the full brunt force of the object which barrelled it's way through town. I can't imagine.

We crawled out of the hole, not knowing what to expect, but got nothing we could have imagined. Blue skies, no rain, calm wind, other people slowly coming out of their respective hiding places. We all breathed, but knew we were simply spared what others must have experienced. Small pieces of other people's lives fell to our feet and onto the rooves of our homes.

The phone miraculously rang and it was my father. Then I finally got a text through to my husband and sister. For not being raised here, how is my family all within a mile from me? How can a tornado threaten all of us when we aren't in the same neighborhood? But we were all spared. No damage, no harm, just emptier fridges until the lights come back on. How is it that we were spared? I cannot say. I am simply glad God was with us all..

I have since driven through parts of the town who experienced the full brunt force, and I can fully understand now what people mean when they say it looks like a warzone. I couldn't imagine. Now my heart breaks because it's not my imagination.

I am so thankful for the resilience of the people in the area. They are already cleaning and combing and straightening and fixing. They aren't wasting a minute in helping everyone get back to normal, or a new normal for many. There is outreach from churches, local universities, national organizations, and neighboring states. I have had a multitude of people offer help and assistance. Whataburger is giving all of their employees a gift card to help with expenses during this time. Through the horrors of life so many times come the amazing spirit of people to help one another, to do what is possible, and sometimes to do the impossible.

We? We are fine. We suffered no damage, and I know without a doubt the crews are working their tails off to get the electricity back as soon as they can. We? We are trying, to help others, to reach out, and to get those who really need help the help they need. We? We are praying, crying out to the God above who is with us all to help our hearts regardless of how touched we were by the storm.

Please pray for the Moore area, and the Shawnee area who was hit the day before our tornado. If you can give please do so. But please don't forget to pray. What they have been through is unthinkable. I'm simply grateful God walks with all of us.

May 21, 2013

Shoring up the foundation

It was interesting. I had been reading a friend's blog about "cleaning house", and I had been grateful that we had those bases covered. It wasn't that I thought I was better than her, it was that I thought we had simply been there done that. Then suddenly a moment appeared and I realized I needed to do just what she was doing. Well, maybe not just.

Isn't that the way of it though? We realize we are in dire straits and we want to find someone who has walked the path so that we can take the same steps they have. The problem is, we are all in a different place and so her steps would not work for me. At the very least she has 3 and I only have 1 still at home. So, what's a mom to do?

In this situation I knew exactly what I needed to do, I simply needed to do it. And friends, it was not easy. But a new schedule was developed, some new activities implemented, and we are still working through the new things and the attitudes about it all. No one likes hard. If we had our choice we would move through life ignoring the hard parts and just pretending it's all easy peasy. But that wont get us very far. Eventually we will have to deal with the stuff because it will keep us from moving forward. And the new schedule, new responsibilities, and new attitudes dealt with the stuff. All of our stuff.

You see, another person can be an inspiration, but you have to walk it out in your own life. The thing is, I'm pretty sure you already know what to do. Of course, if not get the help you need. But please, as I have always said about homeschooling curriculum, make the information you take in fit YOU. If you try to fit it things will unravel eventually.

May 20, 2013

Baby M Blanket

Yes, I did say I made two baby blankets a while back, didn't I? Well, here is the second one I made for a different little boy who has since graced this world with his presence.


It's called the Baby M Blanket and the pattern is free on the Caron website and Ravelry as well. I love Ravelry because you can see all the different color combinations chosen by previous pattern users. I have to admit the colors of my blanket are not typical baby colors, but when it's a little boy apparently you can choose colors to cheer on a local sports team.

As I followed this pattern the changes I made were to use a bigger hook, and where I changed the colors. One thing that had me frogging most of the blanket was not paying attention to which row I was on. I lost 8 entire stitches and didn't notice it for 5 rows. The second time I worked it I did a better job at paying attention to how the row should end. I also continued the shell around the edges rather than a straight single crochet edge. It seemed to fit better for me at the moment.

One side note, I used a different yarn for this, which was thinner and slippy-er. I probably wont do that again. I'm more worried about the ends staying tucked, and this may be my own error, not due to the yarn, but it is something I have learned.
I adore making blankets for people, and when they are new people all the better. 

May 17, 2013

Coming Together

Have you ever sat and watched as ideas circled around your head and heart? Have you ever thought about something and then see it pop up in several places? Have you crossed paths with a new direction only to realize there is a crowd on the path walking with you? This is where I have been.

I wrote all of the posts you read this past week about a month ago. My heart was being turned and I knew it, and I was somewhat familiar with the direction I would be going in, but truth be told I was a little nervous about it. You see, this amazing blogosphere we all participate in had led me to believe my story wasn't really worth sharing.

YES! I know how crazy and insane that sounds considering what everyone out there says, but have you looked to see what they do?? They don't always share their stories. Instead they are sharing lists of this and that, or lessons from a situation, or something they want us to learn. Poems long and deep get passed around. Directions for how to have the perfect day are shared. Not someone's sweet morning as they looked out the window and saw a butterfly pass by. And so, that was what I tried to write as well.

Don't get me wrong, those posts are amazing and almost all of those blogs that write that way are quite popular with the readers. There is nothing WRONG with writing those posts, it's just that I got to the point where I felt if I couldn't teach something I shouldn't write anything. And honestly, I'm simply not that wise. I have been pretending to be, but really.... no.

So, I was heading back to where I began, struggling with getting there in the process, and still wondering how everything is going to sound and what it will look like (or what good it will do!) when I crossed paths with Ashleigh Baker's invitation to write like we used to. I promptly shared the link on facebook, and joined the group she started, and then the following day or two I wrote last Saturday's post.

Simple Stories. Sharing our days. That's what we used to do all the time. Next month is my 10 year anniversary of blogging, and I feel I am coming full circle with what I will be posting soon. Will I not share the list blogs? If I feel a list post rise up I will probably share it with you. But you will be getting more stories like we wrote a decade ago. I will share what I did at 2 o'clock on Thursday because it was a moment in my day, not because I can teach you anything with it.

Maybe this is my disclaimer. Maybe I'm writing this so you understand where I think I am going here at this blog. So you don't get caught be surprise when things change. Maybe I'm writing this to hold myself accountable when I come to the computer. Maybe I'm sharing this in case you feel led in the same direction and think you are all alone. There's a group of us headed there. Let's go together.

May 16, 2013

Whose past, story, or truth?

The Memoir Project shared the article How Memorists Mold the Truth and asked us what our thoughts were. Thoughts? Too many for a comment.

The author begins talking about how furniture was moved in their house to deal with things that were out of his mother's control, and then took that idea into how memorists deal with their pasts. I will be honest, at first I was a little horrified. Memorists don't write fiction, we write our stories. But then I gave it some thought.

I am fully aware of a situation in my life where I remember the events occurring one way, and the other person in the situation remembers the events a completely different way. This isn't simply a matter of two witnesses with slightly different perspectives. This is more like two different meals in different restaurants that occurred at the same time. What I know, as much as I cling to my own version of the truth, is the other person clings just as desperately to theirs.


So what does this mean? Should we stop sharing our stories, or list them under fiction, because someone somewhere may remember it differently than you? Let me be the first to say, (though I know I am not) NO.

The beauty of blogs is we get to write things down in a semi-present tense. Some days what I write is that days journey, and sometimes I'm revisiting a walk I took in the past. But my perspective of that event is important to me. Leaving room for another's perspective is important as well.

Do you leave room for miscommunication, or assumptions which color how you see things?
Do you remember the baggage that you carry affects your experience?
Do you forget others have their own perspective and insist that you are the only one right?

Let me tell you what happens when we do that. We become angry, hard, and shut off. We hurt relationships, and the chance of relationships growing becomes weak since the other person feels cut off, rejected, and ignored. But that doesn't mean our stories should take a back seat to theirs.

Don't allow others to say your memories are flawed, but leave space for their memories to be different.
Don't excuse your story or dismiss it, because it has importance no matter what anyone thinks.
Do look at the memory as openly as you can giving grace and mercy to the story when assumptions must be made.

I don't know that any memorist rewrites history, or rearranges the facts. I think there is an understanding, an agreement, between writer and reader which says "This is my best interpretation of what went on. This is my memory." And is it not true that it is our memory which we live with? Which haunts us? Which causes us to take certain steps here in the present and into the future? So, tell your story. Share your situation. Give me your thoughts based on what you saw. But remember, another's perspective of the same situation is going to be different and that's okay.

May 14, 2013

flying unfinished?

I received a daily truth email from Brave Girl's Club a few weeks ago. Truth be told it sat there for two days going unread. Would it have struck me the same had I read it the day it came in? No one will ever know I guess. But it did strike me in the heart as I opened it up and read the words Melody and Kathy had placed inside.

Brave Girls Club

I am not the first to encourage you to do what is in front of you. What I mean by that is not to worry about the end result, not to stress over what will happen in the long run, but just do the here and now. You were made for good works and good works were made for you to do, so simply do them and leave the rest up to God. I want everyone to know that, to believe it, and to live it.

There are days I hit the mark.
There are days I don't.

When I wrote the posts for the self-defense topic in April, I hit the mark.
When I talked to my Taekwondo instructor about future self-defense courses, I hit the mark.
When I am able to do for my loved ones and friends, I hit the mark.
When I put up healthy boundaries, I hit the mark.
When I learn something that takes me a step further, I hit the mark.
But I knew, there was something I wasn't hitting the mark on. Maybe more than one something.

Recently I have felt as if everything I wanted to do was falling aside. The things I desired to do weren't happening. I felt as if I was becoming stagnate and had no direction. Not only were some things I started finishing, but nothing seemed to be starting. You see, I started looking at the end result. I didn't want to start anything unless I knew where it was headed. I didn't want to write anything unless I knew how it ended. I was sinking in the pool of the unknown rather than floating right where I was.

Truth be told, I'm just realizing (right now as I write this) that I am in this predicament. This morning as I sit here listening to the music playing, the keyboard tapping, and my mind racing I still wonder if I even have the ability to do what I feel I would like to do. I'm waiting for someone to come tell me not even to try because it wont make a difference in the end. Actually, I'm pretty good at telling myself that. I don't need anyone else to confirm.

But that's not flying unfinished, is it? I'm referring to an old subtopic of this blog. Trying even when I'm not "there." Going towards what my heart is calling me to. Hearing God's whisper and trusting His word rather than my knowledge or ability. I'm not doing that in the waiting for clear direction, sure movement, or defined endings.

So, maybe it's time to sit down and work out what it is I am hearing. To figure out how it should start, and not worry so much about the ending. To trust my God, and know that taking this step is huge for me. To do what is before me. And then I will be flying even when I'm still unfinished.

May 11, 2013

Our feet hit the path...

It's a new part of our schedule. We go to the park and run. Well, I run and he's working up towards it, as it should be. But this time didn't go as planned. I had planned on walking 5 minutes for a warm up, running 30, and then walking 5. I wasn't going to stress about the distance because I wanted to see if this new pattern helped me run any easier than just starting right out the gate. I still have no idea if it will help.

My first ten minutes were spent walking and talking with my youngest. Maybe I should say to my youngest, he didn't get many chances to get a word in edge-wise. I know he's not a morning person, and I am aware we started the new schedule to train and discipline both of us, but that morning didn't go smoothly. And at the park it sort of... blew up. I walked for ten minutes telling him off. I walked for ten minutes only getting out of breath because of my anger. I walked for ten minutes hushing as people walked by, because who wants to hear that? Within those ten minutes I think I calmed down out of my original anger state and was able to express my thoughts clearly so he could actually hear them. But by the time those ten minutes were up I was ready to run.

And I did run, hard, for 20 minutes. Those 20 minutes were not easy, I had to catch my breath at different points, and while I never actually got the stitch in my side I could feel it threatening to show up. And then my phone rang.

My last ten minutes were spent walking and talking with my oldest. At this point youngest had finished his walk and was waiting for me, but I was at the other end of the park walking again listening to what oldest said and cheering him on before he headed across country. Talking to him about his plans, his direction, and when he would get there. Before he started out towards his new destination I got to talk to him, hear his voice, and cheer him on. As I hung up the phone I was back to where youngest was waiting, and I think we both had had a change of attitude by that point.

I have one year left with him at home. My job is not to control or change him, but teach and prepare him. This run taught me more than it might have taught him, but I'm hoping we both act differently the next time our feet hit the path.

May 10, 2013

You must forgive to have healthy and safe relationships.

So, what do you do when someone you allowed into your heart does something which decidedly hurts. You are left feeling confused, betrayed, hurt, and angry. What do you do then? Just put up a wall and keep them out? No. That isn't healthy. We all hurt one another, it happens. When we live open hearted and safely we don’t simply push people out of our lives.

May 8, 2013

Dearest Friend,

Some days are hard. There is struggle and pain, hurt and anger. The disappointment engulfs you like a wave during high tide. Some days you wonder if any progress is being made whatsoever, or if you are simply slipping with the water. Being pulled in a direction you don't want to go. But you can't let go. You do have a choice. You must keep fighting for what you want because you simply can't give up.

This is what raising children is like some days. This is what being in a relationship with ANYONE is like on some days. Some relationships are ones that need to be let go of, but others you need to keep fighting for. Your children and your spouse and your self; never ever give up. They are too precious to let drown in the tide of life.

Yes, some days are hard, and some days lead into weeks and months, but I promise you: the fight is worth it. Don't give up, my dear. Just hold on tight and know that you will survive it and everyone will be better on the other side of it. If you just don't give up.


May 7, 2013

a full heart > an emptying nest

Tomorrow I have a post scheduled to encourage you in your relationships. I wrote it a few weeks ago, and still mean it today. Sometimes as you read through these posts you may think that I'm always encouraging and don't have any issues of my own. Those who know me better laugh at this thought.

Last week I had a hard day. I was teary and weepy and what I wanted to do was curl up in bed and stay there all day, but that wasn't a choice I could make. After struggling on my own I finally asked some friends for prayers. This was SO hard to do. I was scared people would scoff, or think I was being too dramatic, or thinking I should just get over myself.

You see, my problem is based in the fact that I have been spoiled for the past half year. I have been totally blessed in the location of my oldest, but soon he is going to be moving farther away, and some time after that he is going to be moving even farther. And then last week I also purchased my youngest's Senior year curriculum. I realized we are starting our "lasts" with him as well. My heart was not strong enough to carry all of that in one day, and so I crumbled under the weight of it all.

What I normally do when I crumble is pull in and close up. I get quiet and stay out of the way. So reaching out and telling others about what was going on was so very hard for me. I was full of fear on top of everything else, and it only made the tears come faster. But I wrote my message, posted it, and then promptly ran away from the internet to process what was going on in my life, heart, and mind. When I finally got brave enough to return I was welcomed with warm comments, thoughts, and prayers. I was so grateful.

I'm still learning myself. I struggle with how to do my own life, and still how to raise my children. These relationships are being redefined as they get older, and it is as it should be. I want them to go on and have amazing opportunities and possibilities, and be blessed by the hardships and high moments. I'm simply having to readjust my thinking as it all happens. I want the best for my boys and keeping them from moving on into their own life is not that. Preparing them and helping them as much as I can along the way is.

While I am learning that my nest may be a little more empty, my heart is still as full. Full of love for those boys, my Captain, my friends, and my other family members. Empty nest, full heart. I like the sound of that.

May 6, 2013

Through any window...

I was blessed to be able to make two baby blankets last month. It seems people in our family like having babies around the same time. It happened two years ago, and again this year. All that baby goodness makes me smile and wish I could be there to love and snuggle said babies. Since I can't, due to distance, I send my love in the only way I know how. A blankie.


The first one I made was from a pattern called Through any window. She shares the pattern on her website if you want to make it. I used the regular version (not the alternate) and was really pleased with the way it came out. If you are on Ravelry you can see different versions in different colors.


When I made the blanket I strayed from the pattern, but not all on purpose. I accidentally used double crochet stitches rather than half double, but I chose to use a larger hook. The blanket was going to a warmer climate, and I thought a lighter looser version would work better. I also could not figure out the picot edging, so I simply did rounds of single crochet to frame it. I loved the way it finished and was pleased to send it to the little boy who stole his mommy and daddy and sister's heart.

May 3, 2013

Choose to start over. Because you can.

Sometimes everything lines up and when we are ready to start again it is at the beginning of a year, or a month, or as the sun begins a new day and we choose to do so on our own. But sometimes things aren't so neat. Sometimes things get quite a bit messy when we least want them much less need them to be that way. Or so we think.

The truth is our lives are what they are because of the choices we have made. We may not be able to control everything that comes into it, but we choose what we do after that. My friend, we need to choose wisely.

If we find ourselves in a moment where we need to start again, just make the choice. I know you can do it, and I believe you can be the person you want to be. Don't put it off until the next Monday, or the next month. This moment we are living right now is the best time to choose your life.

This woman has become an inspiration for me. She has lived through a horrific situation, one she did not choose. But you can see in her determination, her speech, her body language, that she is now choosing what to do afterwards. She is choosing to start over right now, begin again, and not give up.

Whether you are needing a ginormous start over or a small one, know I believe in you. Choose to get up and keep going. Choose to start over right now. Choose the path for your life. Because you do have that power, regardless of what else has happened. So choose.
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