Saturday, December 24, 2016

Keep your Buts, and Well, Ya Knows, && You Must Not Forget About So & So.

      I've noticed a troubling overarching, underlying, redundancy is frowned upon in Writing, theme sneakily creeping into our everyday dialect. This belittling trend has a startling impact on our fellow brothers and sisters. 

We've arrived at a place, in this society, where everything is mitigated and downplayed. I'll explain in a hot second. Perhaps it's the constant buzz of a constant stream of news on our smartphones, tablets, computers, WiFI-enabled cars, wrist watches that tell us when to move, and other chord chasing gadgets. Things & stuffs that suck up our attention spam, time, and, data.  Perhaps it's being globally connected to the free world in the waiting room of your local Jiffy lube, via a handheld device with the forbidden fruit that is a global brands logo? I'm not sure how. I don't know when. I don't know why, but it's go to stop.

Recently, a good friend's parent died. Said friend and I sat at dinner discussing the ends & outs of life over cheeseburgers and spinach dip. The general rigmarole of work, love, life, topics were discussed. The conversation turned to the heavier side of things. It was brought that my sweet friend has heard, from numerous sources, "Sorry, you lost parent X. You should be thankful you still have so. so, and so. My neighbor lost both parents at the same time. You can't even imagine. Be thankful you still have so, so, and so. 



Really? You are talking to someone who just lost said mama. You have the nerve to play the comparison game? Really? In what world is that helpful? Why don't we say, "That sucks. Tell me your mom's favorite thing to do on a lazy Saturday morning? Or was her favorite holiday? Or how about a hug? Or a warm smile? Perhaps, an interpretive dance  It's akin to you telling me your house burnt down to the crumbs & dirt. I respond with.' At least you still have the garage!" My aunt's house, garage, barn, and lean to all went up in smoke!" NO NO NO NO NO NO NO 

Does that help you pick up, inventory, appraise, and reorder all of your earthly possessions, toothbrush and clean underwear all back right square again? NO! Believe me, a fire is no joke. Or stroll down the beach with a wine slushie and a caramel tan. Perhaps all of this access to news reminds us to be thankful. I agree whole heartily. Also, I hold fast to to the belief you can't speak to what you don't know. I've never lost a parent. The thought alone just drops my heart out of my butt. I know it's a road we will all walk. And even that floods my eyes. 

This is all of these Buts, and Well, Ya Know && You Must Not Forget About So & So.  No on needs your opinion, Just your love. It's devastating in the middle of suffering to hear someone ignore your strife because they have a neighbor that lost parents instead of just one. We are to be thankful in all things, not for them. World of difference. I'm just as guilty as everyone else. Not by any stretch of the imagination am I waving my Dan Marino mitts in anyone's face. 

These cataclysmic events that happen in our lives might not seem like the world came crashing down, because we can google someone else's suffering in a nano second. I'm not saying tragedy doesn't befall us all. In this life we are promised heartache and strife until the close the lid. I'm no so sure it won't carry on for 3 days after the worms have creept in, but here is to hoping. 

This past Fall, I stood over the casket of the principal's daughter of my school's baby girl. Katie was 9. She had brown hair and loved theater. It takes your breath away to even say it. Undoubtedly, he will know deep, unspeakable sorrow all of his days. He will never be whole until he leaves this world to be reunited with his love in the next life.  We were in line to greet the family at the viewing, and I overheard, "My feet hurt. I have piles of laundry in the dining room that is just sitting there. Ah, yes, like your dirty piles of Levis are such a troubling weight on your mind. Let's take care of each other? Can we? It took all I had not to punch the person in the face who popped off about the funeral line being so long. Heaven florid the worst day of someone's life interfere with your dirty underwear. When did taking care of our brothers and sisters become so hard? When did we forget how to just shut up and listen. 

Let's all agree, the next time we hear of someone's trouble. We will listen. We will care. If our big Buts, Well, Ya Knows, && You Must Not Forget About So & So, even pass through our tongue lets just put it right back where it belongs. Shut your mouth. Open your heart. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Chin hairs & Mustache wax

Long time no see old friends.  I've been busy. Not so much busy, as I have been lazy. There I said it. Well, I'm back. Happy to join you. Writing is powerful. Words are profound.  Mustache wax is painful. Shall we?

I was diagnosed with PCOS at 18. Long, gross story short, I have problems with my womanly innards and hormones. I.e. Thinning hair, sprouting chin whiskers/ upper lip fuzz. Why get a cat that has whiskers when you can grow your own and save on Tidy cat? I rest my case.  Also, midsection weight gain. Basically a spare tire of flub you could smuggle Mexicans in. Hey, Grandpa Joe!  (Yes, these were the terms Web MD uses. I was shocked, too. How rude!- Stephanie Tanner. Long live the 90's)
Bla bla, medical words & heartache. I was put on meds to combat said ailment. FAIL.

Over the course of 6 months, things started to go awry. I was a bald walking pair of boobs. I lost about 60ish lbs. woohoo! The walking pair of boobs comes into play because that what I was.  As much as that is annoying at times,  you got to work with what your mama gave you. Suddenly, my spare tire went from Tractor tire to tricycle tire. Hay!

The problem was along with the weight also went my hair. big clumps or handfuls just it got thinner and thinner. Deb, who is a second mom to me, was cutting the remnants of what was my hair. She is loving and tender. We both knew the conversation that was bound to happen. I had a pit so deep in my stomach, I was sure it was big enough for me & all 7 of my hairs to crawl into and hide in forever. Solid plan.

It is devastingly painful to be half bald in your early 20's. A special kind oh hell fo sho. I'm as sarcastic and mouthy as the next Mccormick.  I have broad shoulders & mitts like Dan Marino.  But if someone was so much as even stare at the top of my head too long or ask me about what was wrong with my hair,  I could not stop the inevitable title wave of tears .  And it didn't matter that you were close to me or if it was a stranger I was just so uncomfortable and it was so hard I would just instantly cry . And even talking about it now I can still feel some of that old despair creep back in.

 I do believe authenticity is what we all desperately crave in a world that is so photoshopped & staged.  They call it the ugly truth for a reason. This is about as authentic as it gets.  I'm also aware that men struggle with hair loss .  I am by no means diminishing their struggle. As a woman I thought there was something particularly awful about this affliction. Meaning no one give me any crap about being insensitive or ignoring the plight of a balding man. Focus.

I went off the meds, on rogaine and all of that stuff. Read: craptastic results. Ida had more fun lighting the money on actual fire. All Rogaine ever did was drain my bank account & nothing to cross the great divide that was the chasm of my missing nothing to cross the great divide that was the chasm of my missing hair. I gained the weight back but not my hair.

 Fast forward 10 long years, and my hair is coming back. My kitchen is lab of organic experiments, teas, tinctures, balms, and bottles.  After a lot of research and book digging,  I created my own little hair serum. At seven weeks into my experiment,  I realize my results were astonishing.  I didn't tell anyone I was doing this .  I snapped a shot of my sparse part , and let the mixture work it's magic.
 My little bottle of sprouts has proven to be small yet mighty.

 I'm going to name the stuff Sprouts. I plan on selling it. Seeing how it goes, and then on from there.
 What I want more than anything,  is to help be able to hermetically seal shut that pit in anyone else's stomach that is carved out by what they have lost. Yes it's just hair. But I'll come take away half of it, and we will see how big the hole is in your heart.

The proof is in the tasting. Tastes pretty sweet. I'll post another progress picture in a month. Baby steps. From the absolute bottom of my heart, thank all of you for the love, support, and faith. There are no words to express my gratitude. 'Our deepest hurt will bring about our most powerful stories' -Amen







Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dire Straits

The original definition of courage meant to tell your whole story with your whole heart. Well, this is my story.

Panel is a big, huge, obnoxious, (very important & rightly so,) test that everyone takes at Columbia. I didn't pass this past May. I had too much on my mind and not enough skill to pass. I failed. (Truth is, I spent 3 days locked in my apartment crying & watching all 8 seasons of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, straight through) My proclivity for a middle aged, dark hair blue eyed host not withstanding, it's a fantastic show!  Between you, me, and the fencepost, If I'm going to be sad, might as well fix my eyes on something visually appealing. ( Hello! Mama didn't raise no fool ;) Hi, mom! <3 Love you!

The ramifications of not passing this Panel are rather serious. It meant I was forced to take a summer class, and possibly be held back a semester. (totally unacceptable! I got things to do. Those things would include moving on with my life, && graduating before I'm old enough to draw Social Security. Lofty ambitions).

My original summer plans of working, soap making, & chasing around  little yahoos, wouldn't go as planned. I needed help. Lots of it. * screwed, at this point, I am so screwed.* That meant I had to ask for help. I had to make myself vulnerable *gulp* . It meant I would have to find my courage.  I would have to ask for help because I failed.  I would have to tell the story of not passing an important test. Shoot me now. I didn't want to. It was embarrassing, and awful. It meant I needed help, and was only going to get that help,  If I asked. Shoot me now!

I don't like to ask for help. I speak a few languages, can handle anything in the kitchen & consider myself a whiz with old people & babies. (I am smarter than I look. Just don't ask me how many times
 I have fallen down the stairs, or burnt the stuffing out of myself on the crock pot, k?! ) *cough
cough* Me, stubborn? What's that you say?  pride cometh before the fall? BOOM. Timber. Crash. I will take my humble pie al mode, please.

The news of my failure couldn't have arrived at a worse time in my life. The past year had been one that broke my heart in a way I never thought it would heal. If I told you I had been lonely, miserable, and down right a nightmare to be around, it would be the understatement of the decade.  I had experienced indescribable grief, forced goodbyes, and now, glaring failure. Anything else, really? Oh, yes, the roommate from Hell. Sad. I loved my former roommate. She is a peach. Very much. Broke my heart when I had to say goodbye.

I swallowed my pride, and much to my surprise, something amazing happened. The people asked for for help, did just that. There was no judgment. It is an absolutely amazing thing to ask for help and
get just that. Initially, even talking about my seemingly impending doom made my brown eyes drip.
My tears were met with warm hugs, caring eyes, and a willingness to see me pass Panel, no matter
how daunting said task was. I was blown away. I shouldn't have been surprised though. I am blessed.

Summer would prove to be an adventure in new experiences & even a new language. (Braille! I love it!)  One of the people I met at the DeafBlind retreat presented a lecture about asking for help. I spent a week volunteering at this retreat.  It was stated that it is easy to ask for help when it is obvious you need others. I.E. a person breaks a leg, or has a house fire. Of course, you would need the aid of others if your house was no longer intact. But it takes real strength to ask for help when others see you warts & all. (Your pride prove its destructive capabilities in every aspect of your life until you learn to suck it up, Buttercup!) I learned this lesson the hard way this summer. However, it is one that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

You have to learn to ask for help when it is hard and painful. You must be willing to share with others things that you would rather keep to yourself. You must accept the fact we are not 
meant to do this on our own. 




I really appreciated everyone that helped me out this pit. I spent the summer interpreitng all over everywhere this summer. I just worked my tail off and it all paid off. I have an amazing mentor that was wiling to work with me. I just cannot ask for me. The plan is someday, to mentor someone who will find them-self in the same position I was in. In order to ever give love in any capacity, you must be able to receive it.  I am beyond bless to have such a wonderful group of people in my life. I love you all. I learned so much. My heart is so full.


The good news is, I passed my test. I am on the right path. I am so happy I was able to work through it this summer. In this life you will have heartache and strife, but you must always move forward. You must ask for what you need. You must be willing to ask for what you need.  Big things coming my way!






Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The 3rd Party Perspective

Here is it, my opinion. You didn't ask me and I don't care! Here is it. You is welcome!

V.A.C.C.I.N.E.S

Yep. That 7 letter word (-) the plural(s). It's incited a riot between everybody. I stay out, well, because, ya know, I like my head attached. I am now speaking out because I have a blog. (whoopiedoo!) Having 0, that's right, count em' on no hands, 0 kids myself I have an opinion. (I can hear and see all of you rolling your eyes and sighing VERY loudly, geeze a whiz, just have a little patience, would ya?)  I listen to your screaming, hollerin, carryin' on kid at Target every time I go in the store, afford me the same courtesy?. Thanks in Advance :) Mighty Kind.

Woman, to the point! Oh, hi!

I have spent my entire life around kids, seriously, it's a little bit much. My mom babysat kids and then I started babysitting myself. I have years and I mean years of experience with children. DISCLAIMER. I by no means, of any stretch of any imagination am saying that I know what it's like to have a kid. Nope. Didn't  say it. Shh, shut it!… Keep reading.

I have been a babysitter/nanny/crumb gobbler/ankle biter/ taker-carer-of-em for all of my life. I love em' all. I swear. Even on the days I swear my tubes tie themselves bc the kids make me crazy. They all have a special place deep inside my heart. Despite the barf in hair or blowout on my dress. You can't take the good without the bad, smelly, and gassy. I digress.

What I have been privy to a rare glimpse into many different parenting styles and methods. The one I am paying special attention to VACCINES. Why? I know how these kids are before they have these shots and I see how they are after. It scares me. It sickens me. It makes me worry for what their lives will be like in the future.

I have taken car of many babies that after their SUGGESTED vaccines, the change in their countenance is alarming. I don't just mean a fussy baby for a day. My stomach always does a cartwheel or 7 when a family tells me the little just had the required shots. I don't what what the babies reaction will be, but it aint pretty.

 This is not an informative post to explain every side effect or reaction. It's meant to just ask you to do your homework on whatever you are putting into your child's body. I cannot tell you how many mothers/fathers I hear saying I wish I would have known..my doctor never told me…why don't people warn you..I could go on for days with this one…It breaks my heart.

MORE PEOPLE SPEND MORE TIME RESEARCHING A NEW SET OF SPEAKERS, ELECTRONIC TOOTHBRUSH, OR VACATION DESTINATION, THAN WHAT GOES INTO THEIR CHILD'S BODIES, UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE.  

It's important to remember when I say a parent needs to do his or her homework on vaccines, I do not mean go to your doctor's office. I mean do your homework, read books, watch a documentary or 6. Listen to a parent speak, let their message be understood. When you do your research, go in with an open mind. If you approach this topic with an open mind, you might be surprised as to what you find. Don't think or say what kind of idiot. Take his or her opinion in, take it to heart.

THIS IS ALSO PARAMOUNT, DO NOT, DO NOT EVER, EVER CALL PEOPLE NAMES, OR BASH AND BELITTLE. EVER. IF SOMEONE STARTS IT, WALK AWAY, THE PROBLEM IS WITH HIM OR HER NOT YOU. DO NOT THROW GAS A FIRE. BE KIND. BE OPEN, BE GENTLE, ALWAYS, NO MATTER YOUR STANCE. 

I have worked with kids who are and who are not vaccinated and the difference is astounding. The ones that aren't do not have the same health, mental, and emotional problems that I see occurring in the ones that are. I am not saying that every problem in the world is tied to a vaccine, not at all, but I do see their damage. It's not a medical perspective, my opinion is what I have seen first hand. No one can tell me what I have seen with my own eyes. No one, ever.

If anything, this should post should remind you that your children are precious, they are the hopes and dreams of the ones that went before us. They will be all that remains once we are gone. That's not an if we are gone, that is when we are, all will perish from the Earth. They are to be loved, snuggled, rocked to sleep, and taken care of. The times they are a changin', baby. Get with the times. Your job as a parent now to do the dishes, wash the clothes, and do your homework. Your choice, your kid, but it would be shame to have to say I wish I would have known…

I encourage all of you to watch this. I challenge everyone that reads this to read, watch, or find 3 articles, books, or documentaries about vaccines, that are different that the current viewpoint you hold. Understand why people believe and feel like they do. It may change your mind, save a life, or for the first time, you will understand the other side believes what he or she does.

This is a humble persectiptive from the nanny. I did not go into great detail because I am not putting out my own thoughts and ideas. I encourage you to formulate your own, based on your research. Remember cheater's never prosper ;) It don'ts mean anything unless you have made a decision because of what you believe. I am simply expressing my concern over what I have seen come to pass. 



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

That sucks! Want A Sammich?!

The very sound of "Bless Your Heart" makes me want to yak.  What is really being said is, "poor sucker, awe, life is rough when you are slow..." It's crap! Downright BS. It fits right up there with "that's life" really? That is what passes for encouragement these days. PTI-A-FREAKIN-FUL. So now we encourage our brothas and sistas with bumper- sticker platitudes and trite sayings from Chicken Soup for the Soul? Ouch.
*Side note* This blog could possibly be from the recent turn of events, those events being going home, the Holidays,  and Finals in 2 weeks* I know, just breathe., step away from the 5 hour energy.   So if this is blog has a bit more sass or zing to it, I make no apologies , like I ever do, but it is about time it was said! * Continue reading at your own free will :)

It is easy to forget our own thoughts and actions once we are removed from a situation. i.e. the loss of a friend, raising children, ( I got NOTHING on this one. I also refuse to open that can of worms.I am just trying to get you there, OK?) going through school, moving across state lines....yada yada yada . You get it. You is smart, You is kind, You is important :)

My (grass-fed) beef is that once we are out of a situation we become experts platitude givers . We offer little to no  empathy or support   to others who are walking the same road. I will put myself out there on this one. Most of you know over the last few years I have been gypsy livin! It has been some good times. Moved out and  away, grew up ( work in progress, I know)  Lived alone and loved it Well, 95% of the time. This ain't an SAT test, numbers are not scored here! I pride (Pride- that will come back around to bite your in the rear) myself on knowing how to make a budget, pack up an apartment, and start over. It's been a blast meeting new people, learning about different places, and really making my own life. There are stories that are special to me from each place I lived. Every place has a place in my heart and my life. but......

Each one also has its own struggles, defeats, and losses at every new place. I have forgotten how hard it is to pull up roots and start totally over. The move from home was the hardest. It by far was the best experience I have ever hard, but also the most challenging on many levels.My mind, at times,  glosses over all of the hard parts and focuses on the good. So when I hear someone wants to move away I am the first to make a list of what is needed for packing up an apartment. ( Toss your junk before you move! There is always a Bed, Bath, & Beyond & a  20% off coupon close at hand:)

A friend of mine recently got into an excellent law school in DC.  I said GO. Move across the country you can always move home, me you have seen! It is great advice, so proud of you , Jasmine <3. However, there is also more to it than just Lowes boxes and packing tape. It means pulling up roots, exposing yourself, and being VULNERABLE.. ( That means being ok with saying, HALP!) What better time to say, "Halp"

So, since I am nice and settled in CHICAGO ( I made it, baby!) , it is easy for me to dole out advice about moving, However, what I need to say is, Ah, moving. there is a reason it rates very high on the stress scale. Instead of just saying that blows.and walk away. Why not offer to help pack up, grab a box, or just say we should go spend a night walking around Bed , Bath, and Beyond. I have coupons. Bury me with em," ok?

I am reminded of how many people had patience with me when I first started out on my ASL journey. ILY BETH!!!!!!!!!!! <3 I now work in the ASL lab at school so now I deal with ASL one students. They are so cute! Scared crapless!  It is something else to walk in there with everyone who can sign like it aint no thing and ask you what you need help with. If you can get your knees to stop shakin' long enough, and your hands to work, and your brain to remember how to spell your own name, you are in the red, baby! It is a good day. But it aint, your hands are clammy, you know the sign for book and the polite girl behind the desk signs BOOK , but you get that deer in the headlight look. Fifteen minutes later communication has happened. Now, I look back on those days fondly! Ah, good times, right? Well, kinda.

It is the job of the older ones to help guide the younger ones. It is really a charge to the ones who have walked before to show them how you survived Panel 1 & Panel 2 ! OMG. That means we should speak edifying words to each other like...." I remember those days, you need to go to tutoring every week to improve," or other sound advice.Of course there is a time to lead the pack, and let them figure it out on their own. But that's another day.

So the charge is that those of us who have survived, perhaps a little beaten up, but still here, should serve as a guide to the ones who are following in our foot steps. Also, are our footsteps what they should follow? It isn't that have to be perfect, but did you do the best you could?

I think of the holiday season and how many people will be without a loved one at the table. I sobbed at I Miss You Most At Christmas Time by Mariah Carey the other day. Absolutely reduced to sobs and snot. It hurts. The holidays will be rough this year. So say a prayer for those families this year that will have one less at their table. An empty place an the table means an emptier place in the hearts of the ones that loved the one that has gone on. Hurts.

 People say life is but a vapor. I get it. SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!. When a person is closer to 50 it is easier to say that so carelessly, sometimes, even down right cold. At 26, my friends are my family up in Chi.  School and work is my life right now. So it isn't just oh whatever, it doesn't matter. It does to me. It is all about perspective. So before judgement is passed, stop, think, then speak. Remember being 26 and sometimes feeling like the world is crashing down? Sometimes it does feel that way. Sometimes it does all go up in smoke. This life turns on a dime. So saying life is short at 50 holds a different meaning than at 26. I have a longer journey. 26 > 50, 'member?

The whole point is to remember what it was like when you walked that same road. It isn't the friend who remembers those days that means anything to you . It is the one that sees you in the mire and climbs down in with you. Not the one who sees you in the hole and says, "that's life,  I would come down there, but I can't get dirty. Life is rough, wanna sammich ?" There is a time for sammiches and to pull your own self up. However, sometimes we just need someone who gets it. Who knows that grief is a process and sometimes it does SUCK.Things aren't always going to be ok. That in itself is ok, too. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert. These things take time. Dance when it's time to dance, and cry when your heart is heavy. Don't dismiss someone because you have survived said experience. Consider it a pleasure that he or she is comfortable enough to be vulnerable with you. Remember a time in your own life when if one more person said "deal, that's life" you were going to cry. The bible says love is what separates the world from the Christians. Love is a verb. Love sits in the muck and mire. Platitudes give you a handout, a sammich. Love gives you a hand up, a hand to hold. 

So are you climbing down in the trenches? Or are you holdin' a sammich?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Beer cans && Fishin' Lures was a board on my (now defunct) Pinterest account. I named it that because I had hundreds of pins of nothing but shiny pretty objects that caught my attention. Because who am I kidding, I am the poster child for all things shiny and wonderful ;) I digress.... My favorite board was the one titled " Miss Stephanie Marie" It had all these little pins about things I enjoyed, shiny objects, make up, Chicago, babies, the Titanic, all things Deaf culture and ASL....OH! I almost forgot my real all-time fav-or-ite board...the one with all the sappy, boo-hoo-hoo quotes and song lyrics. Oh mercy. *sniff *sniif* I would cry but that means my make-up would run. If anyone that knows how much shellac I cake on, these black eyes would put Alice Cooper to shame, honestly.(PS. I do not apologize at all for it either, nope, no way, not in this lifetime, sister. It is part of my effect. Well, not this semester per say, been a little more Au natural, bc it's been nothin short of the 9th circle of hell round here, as of late...
To not be ungrammatical
ANYWAY 
-Note the absence of the 's'-

I deleted the account because I found myself wasting time on things that I do not have a need, use, or want for. I have enough stuff, crap, and things. The more I was on Pinterest, the more I found myself wanting more meaningless stuff, useless crap, and worthless things. I want and need to spend my life investing in people. Building loving, lasting,eternal relationships should be my focus.

Now please, pretty pretty please, just go with me on this. Stop rolling your eyes, well, go ahead. (Jesus 360- ILY Benny <3)  They won't get stuck that way I promise. If they did I would be so cross-eyed I wouldn't be able to throw a rock and hit the ground. 
ANYWAY

I do not believe having a Pinterest account is bad, not in the least. However, for me, it was becoming a stumbling block. It was too easy for me to distract myself to look at recipes all day or to pin a board about home DYI projects, that I don't have a garage to do them in! Hello, I live in a condo downtwon Chi ! 

Now fundamentally there is nothing wrong with being able to look up how to use a mason jar in 100 creative new ways, but for me it was more than that. ( I know I know insert eye roll here. BUT it's a struggle for me) I would spend two hours on pining sappy lyrics or the picture of a sunset with a bible verse. Again, nothing wrong but it meant I wasn't doing anything. Just shaking my head at all the stuff I don't have. Sad Sad Stephanie. Oh look, what a cute pair of shoes, I need ANOTHER pair of shoes to collect dust in my closet.

But then I had to ask myself why? What about all of this virtual crap was so appealing? It is because it is an escape, for me.It means I get so focused on not having a garage with an SUV and 2.5 kids, that I forget about all that I do have. The more I would look at these pictures of other people's crap the more I wanted it. Come on! I could rattle you off 200 hundred pages of the cute stuff I saw on Pinterest that  I NEED!  However, that is not for me right now. I do believe all of those things in God's good time, but I can't wish my life away.

 As I have PAINFULLY learned, we ain't promised tomorrow. So If I spend all my time always redecorating my apartment I will never have time to have friends over to sit and chat. If I don't stop pinning away for things I don't have I will miss all that I do have. All of my blessings become a moot point if I am always peeking in the Jones' new-fancy-hand sewn-roman shaded-window. (Kudos to whomever can pull that off)

I have been practice interpreting TED talks. They are a series of amazing lectures from topics on the Paleo diet all the way to Gentrification. 
ANYWAY

One of the talks is about whole-hearted living and learning to embrace every aspect of life. Dr. Brene Brown states the simple fact that we are the most obese, debt riddled, medicated, and sedated nation in the world. WOW. She also notes that people have a hard time dealing with any sort of discomfort. The more I looked around the more I had to agree. I am right there in the thick of it myself, heated toilet seats, anyone? 
Again, nothing wrong with a heated toilet seat at 2 am. (BRRR) However, at some point the madness has to stop.

 This year has been a very tough year in my for several reasons and in many ways. So when she said we don't like any discomfort GUILITY. It hit me right then and there. I am never still. I never just be. Those of you that know me are nodding your pretty little heads right now in agreement. That is ok, I know you love me and support me :
But what it means is that for the longest time I have just sat without my phone glued to face, or my headphones in, or the tv blaring. I don't like the discomfort. I can't stand the silence. It hurts. My heart hurts.  Uh, turned on the news lately? some people really understand the meaning of hurt. People losing their babies, mama standing over the grave of her child, people killing others over iPhones. Real life-altering pain some people experience.
BUTTTTT
I have learned God is good even when he is silent. I know that because I stood over the casket of someone I dearly love and miss this past year. I know first hand he was a witness to thousands of people he never met. I still don't get it. I aint happy about it. So I won't pretend I have made my peace with it. I also held my little chunky delicious new nephew. I saw that life starts and life ends, at any age, and without warning. You da man Cam, all 11 lbs & 7 Oz.OUCH && that head full of hair!

The real point of the talk was that there is nothing wrong with being uncomfortable and in pain. The longer we fight it the worse it becomes. It happens, it sucks, and it aint fair. But I didn't scoop out the oceans with my hands, and I don't know how many stars are in the sky, but I trust the person who does. So I will not be led astray by the temporary trappings, the beer cans and fishing lures, of this ol' world. It is quickly fading. 

I will embrace every season of my life because I know blowing the candles out on my birthday cake another year is a priceless act. *Sidenote, my sister makes amazing and delicious cakes * Much I have seen and much I have done. I understand happiness because I understand sorrow. I do believe there is beauty in brokenness and comfort somewhere down the road. 

So for now, I am doing my best to sit in the silence and walk through the fire but not be overcome. It burns but I am not consumed. Some people say when they get to heaven someday they have no questions. Well good, that leaves more time for me to ask mine. In the mean time, I will rock the babies to sleep, do my homework, and wash the dishes. 
I will be thankful for what I do have because I was given more than I deserve. 

So my prayer is that I continue to not lose sight of all that I do have, because I spent too much time looking and what I don't have. Maybe someday Pinterest and I will be old pals instead of arch enemies. Time will tell! 

One for the road...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Travelin' Soldier

"...I guess we are all one phone call from our knees..."  Benny died on April 19, 2013.  I got a phone call from his mom, Brenda, on that blustery Chicago morning. The horrific information she had to share would send me straight to my knees.Truth be told I am still there. I'll never forget her trembling voice and the harsh words she spoke.."Benny is gone." She said them through her tears and disbelief. He was gone forever. All at once, my heart shattered, my eyes blurred with tears, and my mind raced with questions.  How? When? The most tormenting of all. WHY? 

The last question, why, still haunts me as I walk this lonesome road of loss and despair. Grief S.U.C.K.S. There is no way around it. When someone you love dies, a piece of you dies, too. The heart aches because it must now beat without all of its parts. No remedies for a broken heart. I wish there was some way to drown out the deafening silence of such a profound loss  What I wouldn't give for one more story, hear one more sweet laugh, or see that beautiful smile, just one more time. I miss you, Elvis. The only way to survive is to pray,cry, and cuddle up with a USMC pillow pet when this all seems to be too much to handle. 

If I told you Benny fought harder than anyone I have even seen fight, it would be an understatement. Benny's bravery and determination will always be in a league of its own, in my mind. He was a Marine. He was a fighter.  I was able to witness first hand his unwavering bravery. Ben made his way through insurmountable odds and physical pain that few can even comprehend. The GBS ravaged his body but not his spirit. 

His mom stayed by his side everyday with steadfast loyalty. I watched as she would graciously tackle whatever daunting tasks each day brought. She did it all, from brushing his teeth, to documenting this journey on his FB page. (https://www.facebook.com/CplBenjaminGardner?fref=ts). Brenda kept up pound for pound with the doctors.No MD initials can ever replace a mother's love. They had their fancy degrees and books smarts. However, it was no match for the wit and wisdom that she is blessed with.  Never in all of my life have I ever seen such tenderness and courage in one person. God gave her strength for all she had to endure day after day. Benny always asked "where is mom?" Every. Single. Time. I came in the room. That was always  his first question. Blessed me to always answer that she was on her way without fail. Come rain or come shine. In those early days of his illness all he knew was that his mama would never leave his side. She traveled all over this country to be her son's side. I believe they pulled from each other's love. Even when a mama pokes, prods, and asks too many questions. There is just nothing like your mother's love. 

The days have passed very slowly since Benny died. It's hell when I think off all he didn't get to do and see. He came so far and yet he still had so much that needed to be done. Ben and I were going to ride the CTA. (Chicago train) His job was to tell me how fast it went. Sometimes just hearing the freaking thing floods my eyes with tears. I am made painfully aware he will never get to ride it. This is a dark part of life for all of those that loved him. The grueling task of carrying on without him here sucks.  I do not believe this was all for not though. Even when that feeling is ever present.. His story reached thousands of people across the globe. Pastor Chad said that we are all used for God's glory. This means even when it hurts.  I do believe, with all of the pieces of my heart,  that something good will come out of all this.  However, it doesn't ease the sorrow and suffering. It's always a blessing to read his page that was filled with prayers, wisdom and encouragement. So many people came along on this journey of healing that ended up being his journey home. 

I haven't blogged in months.Nothing to really say until now. Just getting my thoughts out. I miss my Elvis. He was many things to many people. He was a friend that I was able to walk beside on his journey to the sky. He is in Heaven . One day I will see him again. What a hope we have. Keep his family in your hearts and prayers. They walk this lonely and painful road of life without their Benny. I believe there is nothing more heartbreaking than attending your own child's funeral.

 I am so thankful I have amazing people in my life that have prayed for me and cried with me. They have fulfilled the law of Christ by helping me walk this road. 

The measure of a man is what he leaves behind. You left your mark on this heart of mine, Benny. Your story lives on in those of us that love you. We will tell the world. Your light and laughter will sustain us for the days ahead. I miss you, everyday. I love you. Thank you for letting me walk along beside you. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. The last thing I said to you was that I would miss you. I do.I will for days I do not have you near. 





Those we love don't go away. They walk beside us, everyday. Unseen, Unheard, but always near. Still loved, still missed, and held so dear. <3