Friday, February 15, 2013

As I am typing this, there are ten minutes left till the most 'romantic day of the year' winds down to a close for another 364 days.  Today, against my will I might add, I battled the ridiculous lines at the grocery store, wedged between two baskets filled with all the usual valentin'ey' things.  You know, delectable and intricately decorated chocolate covered strawberries, heaping vases filled with roses of every color, a box of chocolates, and yes, the occasional 'I Heart You' balloon, towering above someone who looks as though they just want to dash to their car in total anonymity as quickly and quietly as possible.  Me?  I've got none of that in my cart.  Instead, I've got toilet paper, cat food, milk, cereal, sliced turkey (for my 10 year-old's lunch because she cannot stand another day of buying lunch at school--ever so dramatic :), the myriad of ingrediants to make potato soup (for my sister who is under the weather),and medicine for my four year-old who is also in the cart with red eyes, a runny nose, and a cough that has other shoppers keeping their safe distance from the possibly contaminated child.  And as I am wedged in this line of romantic shoppers, I am silently scolding myself for procrastinating yet again, thus putting myself in this predictament to begin with.  Only me to blame--sigh. 

Tyler and I make it through my grocery store trip, and as I am driving home I  think about today--and all of those people who may not have a certain someone in their life to do Valentin'ey' things with.  My mom approached this subject last week in her "Happy Early Valentine's Day" post, and I thought I might expound on that for just one more time.  I know a lot of readers are in happy marriages with supportive spouses which is an amazing and wonderful blessing.  But, I also know that there are many of you who have had to battle through the toughest times of your life alone. A good friend of mine who is now in remission, was battling non-hodgkins lymphona a couple of years ago--not alone, but single.  My mom has a close friend who battled breast cancer--not alone, but single.  And my mom has battled most of the hardships in her life--not alone, but single.  I want to emphasize not alone, because we are never alone.  We have family, friends, and even when those are few and far between we have God.  But sometimes, no matter who we have in our life, we just feel a-l-o-n-e.

I was reading in my Daily Word this morning the devotion dedicated to Valentine's Day.  And I would like to share it with you all:

"Today is Valentine's Day, but every day can be a day of love, and every day I can choose to be loving.  The more love I give, the more love I get.  So today, I begin a love cascade.  I close my eyes, connect with Spirit and focus on all I am grateful for--from the tiniest blessing to the biggest.  I feel gratitude and love grow in my heart.  As I allow the spirit of God to express through me in loving ways, I feel love grow.  I smile at a stranger, open the door for someone I meet, run an errand for a neighbor and say a kind and caring word to a friend.  As I continuously give love, love is returned to me beyond measure.  "Let love be genuine;...hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.-Romans 12:9-10. 

So many times, we get hung up on the chocolates, the roses, the  balloons, or lack thereof.  And we (myself included) forget about all those languages of love that don't cost us a dime.  Love doesn't need to celebrated one day out of the year.  Love, love for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, love for one another as family, friends, and neighbors needs to happen 365 days a year.  And I know I tend to forget that.  Tend to get mired down in things that really don't matter.  So I was greatful for today's message in the Daily Word.  And hope that maybe it helped some of you to have a better day too.

Hoping that all of you feel the love of Christ today and always.  We are here for you if you need to talk or someone to pray with.  Happy Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Happy Early Valentine's Day!

Well, it's almost here again...the day that we as American women either look forward to with ecstatic enthusiasm or dread almost as much as our annual  visit to the gynecologist...VALENTINE'S DAY! Ever since Bobby Tuttle put his handmade Valentine's Day card in my white paper bag in Mrs. Jones 4th grade class - not one single day has meant more to my chronically-romantic nature and I must add long suffering heart than this most cherished day.

Now, what I have to say next is sure to come as a shock. ...I know by the emails I have received from many of you that you think I am in the throngs of a happily- ever- after marriage.  But no - I have been dipping my toes in and out of the murky dating pool for almost 11 years now and  trust me - I do mean murky. These have been probably the toughest years of my life - emotionally speaking.  During these past 11 years, I've buried both of my parents - which were the absolute two hardest days of my life.  There were days, when honestly, I didn't know how I could get out of bed much less put one foot in front of the other. Unbearably tough times. And for some reason I'll never understand why I had to go through those times alone. In spite of the fact that I'd been in and out of relationships - serious ones at the point that I was engaged several times- I was still left to face my parents death alone. And I don't think there is a more alone feeling in the world than sitting in the ER, the ICU and finally hospice - alone. Especially as an only child.  I've heard that we really never grow up until we lose our parents.  And I believe this to be very true.  But then again His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are above our thoughts.  So, there's obviously a reason for things happening the way they do. And maybe one day I'll find out what that reason was. Looking back on those days; however, I realize that I was never really alone.  The Lord was with me, and He was carrying me when I was too weak to stand. He was the reason I endured.

Okay, back on track...Valentine's Day.  Awww...Truthfully, the last two Valentine's Day were probably two of the happiest days of my life. A dozen red roses, a romantic candlelight dinner and a beautiful engagement ring. Life couldn't get much better than that. You know what I'm talking about.  We've all had those kind of Valentine's Days - the perfect ones  - the ones that make  the world look so bright, so beautiful.

But that was then and this is now. Reality set in not too much long after the last Valentine's Day and I was forced to see that behind my proverbial knight in shining armor was a very wounded little boy who had control and jealousy issues. Not that I'm perfect - oh no, not by a long shot.  But WOW! I'm seeing a pattern here - I  keep attracting the same type...will I ever learn?  So, after 7 months of nurturing my once again broken heart and trying to pick up the pieces of yet another shattered dream - I'm facing the other kind of Valentine's Day in a mere eight days.  I've been bracing for this day for the past month....trying to prepare myself. There will be no romantic candlelight dinners, no red roses, no 8 by 10 card with a picture of this blissfully happy couple on the front. Instead, this year I will be in Austin with my youngest daughter who is having surgery. But just today the thought occurred to me that there's no other place I'd rather be on February 14, 2013 - than by her side. After all, she is one of the greatest loves of my life. And if my so-called dream relationship hadn't ended when it did - the chances of me being by her side would be slim.

So, here's to all you single ladies out there on Valentine's Day. My wish for you is that you love yourself and realize that God loves you more than you can imagine. Remind yourself of  that  fact. He will never forsake you. He'll never leave you alone when you're facing the greatest trials of your matter what those trials may look like.   Whether it's  another surgery, the loss of a loved one or an unbearable heartache. He'll be my your side.

On this Valentine's Day take time to discover a new appreciation for your friends and family. After all, that's where you're the most likely to find true love....lasting love. The kind of love that always lifts you up when you're feeling down and hopes for and believes in the best for you. Unconditional love.

So on February 14th, hug your child, your children, your grandkids, then go out and buy yourself a red rose, a dozen roses,  a box of candy and the CD by Whitney Houston that has one of my favorite songs on it- The Greatest Love of All, turn up the volume and  sing out loud to the top of your lungs. Light a candle, bask in it's soft glow,  draw yourself a hot bubble bath and sip on that glass of wine or champagne.  Here's to you. Today is your day. Will you be my Valentine?

Friday, February 1, 2013

To all my fellow insomniacs

So it is 2:30 in the morning--correction, 2:41 in the morning.  And with less than four hours till my alarm clock goes off to start another day, I find myself having trouble shutting this day down.   Like my mother, and her father, I am a night owl--lately this phenomenon has been tempered by the sheer exhaustion that accompanies following a very active but adorable four year old around--but tonight my insomniac night owl syndrome happens to be in full swing.  You know the kind--where your to-do lists keep swirling around in your head to the tune of psycho playing on in the background (sorry-had to throw that in after seeing Hitchcock the other night--good movie if you haven't seen it).  Oh, speaking of which, another good movie is Silver Lining Playbook.  Sorry, apparently ADD is kicking in tonight as well.  So, after trying for an hour to go to sleep I throw back the covers and decide to heck with it.  If I'm not going to sleep I might as well try and figure out this social media thing.  Now, I know I am fairly young (well not really, I just still like to use the term :), but I am not so old that I should be that far removed from the social media world.  I mean ALL my friends are doing it.  When you run into someone at the mall, instead of exchanging contact information, I get the 'I'll find you on facebook and we'll have to get together' speel.  And when I tell them that I'm not, nor have I ever been on facebook, their mouths gape wide open as if I just told them I'd just been released after ten years in prison.  I mean, am I really the only one who has been dragged into this century of iphones, ipads, twitter and facebook accounts kicking and screaming?  Am I the lone holdout in this era of texting, liking, or whatever it is people do these days?  I guess so.  Which is why starting up this blog with my mother has been extra challenging--topped off with a couple extra layers of frustration.  I don't have the patience, nor the time, to try to connect.  Our point was to let others know that there is hope in the face of domestic abuse, metastatic cancer, depression, alzheimer's, all the lonely and terrifying roads my mother (and we as a family) have been down.  We wanted to share this message of hope and faith.  And from emails my mother receives from so many wonderful women who have been encouraged and empowered through her story, I know we are already doing that.  But, I know that with a little social media know-how we could reach so many more.  So, that is what I have spent the past two hours trying to do--in vain I might add.  It appears that I am totally and hopelessly inept social media wise.  I mean, I can't even figure out how to like people back on facebook for pete's sake!  I have sent out an SOS to my sister tonight. So hopefully in-between scouring over hundreds of applications, answering a ton of emails, and overseeing yet another orientation, hopefully she will have a small window to help out her inept sister.  In the meantime, we appreciate everyone's patience as we figure all this out together.  Please feel free to connect with us by posting a comment, 'liking us on facebook', following us on twitter, or whatever you like to do :)

In the meantime, we will be here as always.

Goodnight everyone!