Tag Archives: strong

The Heat

The Heat…

Last night my son and his girlfriend came over for dinner, as they do every Wednesday. We had steak (cooked in a well-seasoned cast iron pan) and potatoes & asparagus, (baked in the oven), and Pastina (simmered on the stove). Talk about YUM. It really was a delicious dinner.

Where am I going with this? Well he seasoned the steaks with a few different spices he brought over. One was Coriander. I asked him….what on earth do you use that for? I had never used it never mind it has never lived in my spice cabinet. I smelled it….mmmmm…. and tasted it….oh so good. It’s nuttiness was what I liked most. So along with some salt and pepper…he sprinkled the coriander.

“Not too much”, he said, “it’ll take over the steak, and it won’t taste very good at all”.

I thought, cooking our dinner is just like life. A little of this and a dash of that and some of this mixed in….and WALLAH, the end result is wonderful.

Remember though….in between, there will be some heat. To have this dinner turn out edible, it had to be cooked. Your life experience could be just like a low simmer for quite awhile which you notice but maybe don’t pay attention to because it’s bearable. It could be a jolt of high heat that sears the edges and wakes you up in your deepest sleep and continues to keep you up at night. It could also be an extensively grueling bake…. for longer than you anticipated and nothing like you imagined or thought you could handle for that matter.

Ah but without the heat. Without the tragedies, the trials, the sorrows. Without the mishaps and misfortunes and upsets. Without those hard times…. you would not come out on the other side stronger, sweeter, and more wonderful than you ever dreamed.

At my age, I welcome the fire and long to see who I am when it’s burnt out.

XOXO

your God Girl,

Tracy

The Muscles We Don’t See

When I look at mothers, I value the muscles you can’t see…

If we are fortunate, we have friends or family members that tell us how strong we are. I have someone in my life that champions me. And, I appreciate that. But those on the outside looking in only get a glimpse. Because until you are a mom, you are not able to comprehend what it takes to survive.

Moms have the endurance of long-distance runners. Every day is a marathon. It feels like a sprint but it is a marathon. As soon as she is out of bed – actually, before that…as soon as she is awake – she is going. There is so much to do and life demands a consistent pace if there is to be any hope of getting even a portion of it completed. If this marathoner appears to be breaking stride or shortening the distance, don’t be fooled. This woman is always moving swiftly – thinking, planning, preparing, and plotting the entire time.

Mothers are incredible jugglers. You have not seen someone multi-task until you’ve seen her handle a day. Yes, we all know what studies say about multi-tasking but she proves them wrong and takes it to a new level. Making dinner, while correcting homework, starting the laundry, answering a teacher’s email, signing a permission slip and answering the phone, all while asking the kids about their day and while still wearing her work clothes. And, dinner makes it to the table on time, and the kids feel none of the effects of this whirlwind because her focus is seemingly only on them. Now that is impressive, and it is only one hour of her day. That juggle is nonstop and requires incredible muscle.

Mothers are tremendous containment specialists. When there is no one at home to confide in, to share the burden of decision making, advocating and disciplining, she needs to contain that frustration, struggle and self-doubt and put it aside as best she can.  Mom has grit. There is not enough time or energy to let that doubt and fear creep in. But it is there. It is always there. So, she shoves it down or back or into a box and moves ahead with her head high, knowing (or at least hoping that) she is doing the best she can.

No one sees all of this. And, yet, it takes a more strength than most can imagine. Not even the mom’s closest confidant truly sees the triumphs and tears, the disappointments and the dance parties, the hard days and harder nights. But in all of those moments, the real muscles are formed and refined and flexed. Mom doesn’t worry about who sees. She isn’t looking for sympathy. She doesn’t have time for that. She might need a little understanding and a little grace, or just a knowing smile from a fellow mom. She might not know where the strength she needs comes from. But it is there. Quietly growing and building, depleting and then building again.

It is those muscles, the ones no one sees, that help moms push through, carry on and strive for more.

 

Samantha

I Got A Janky Heart

This is a blog I wasn’t sure I was going to write or even how to be honest.

It’s a big share about my life. I wasn’t even going to share it,but over the course of the last few weeks I have had some pretty serious discussions with people I love in my life about what we share and what we don’t.

I’m just gonna do this and maybe it will all make sense. Or maybe it won’t.

I have a congenital heart defect.

I also was two months premature. I weighed in at 3 pounds 4 ounces.

I was born with a hole in my heart. By the time I was four I had two open heart surgeries.

I don’t remember much about it.

What do remember: comparing zippers, the smell of the stitches, falling off my bed, I can remember be wheeled into an operating room.

That’s it.

I have a gnarly bikini scar with accompanying friends all over my body.

A few years ago after ignoring its existence I got a chubby heart tattoo at the base of my scar.

Growing up I had a list of things I could and couldn’t do. I’m pretty sure my Mom told me certain things just to keep me from doing those said things.

The reality of my disease never and still doesn’t fully resonate with me until I’m around doctors or other survivors.

There have been some scary things around having children and at one point I was actually given a life expectancy.

By the way my daughter is eleven and I’m 47.

But as light as I’m making it there have been some things.

I’m always winded. My circulation is horrible. I can’t tell you how often I hear cold hands warm heart. Lol

I get colds so easily.

Living in the Midwest that’s a joy.

Also, lol.

There’s more but I’m sharing this because it doesn’t define me and it certainly hasn’t held me back.

I am the person if you tell me no I do it twice and take pictures.

So now you know this about me. Will it make you read what I write any differently?

It shouldn’t. Oh my gosh it better not.

We all bring private, public, personal battles to the table but they shouldn’t hold us back and they certainly shouldn’t define us. Other people should not let those things define how they treat you either.

This year I participated in the Heart Walk as a survivor. It was the first year I admitted it. And shame on me for not admitting it sooner. Because now I own it and I have found an amazing community.

My favorite member is a heart doctor who we will call Dr. W who teases me that my after care regime should not include Mt. Dew and Reese’s.

Sorry not sorry Dr. W, a girl has to have her vices.

Don’t be afraid of what you bring to the table no matter how big. I know it’s easy for me to say this, but take a deep breath look at how far you’ve come. You are more than the extras that are in your life.

You are sparkly and amazing and strong.

And as always I got you Momma.

❤️

Caprise

Holiday Realness

I’m sitting writing something I wasn’t going to.

My sadness at being without G during the holidays.

It is the reality of being a single parent during the holidays. It’s a choice you make. It doesn’t make it any less hard.

On everybody.

Luckily we have gotten G to a place where she revels in multiple meals, knows Santa will find her and cherishes her different traditions.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not all lollipops and roses and my anxiety raises starting in October, because I know it means behind the scenes I have to start holiday negotiations and frankly it’s awful. It just is.

I try really hard to keep my chin up,but this year in particular I fell on my face. My chin dragged on the floor the minute I called her from my office to say goodbye. Knowing I wouldn’t see her for the next few days.

Truth bomb when she is here typically we are in the same room on our respective electronics, but she’s HERE.

It’s especially lonely when you’re alone. I don’t have anyone I go home to. OK, my golden doodle and while he is majestic…it’s not the same.

While at work I watched as the families are excited about plans with loved ones. Running errands at Target, families stuffing carts. At my favorite wine shop where I got two bottles of wine, couples making negotiations about how Thanksgiving is going to go.

So I wear a lot of waterproof mascara, try to stay away from social media and keep to myself.

Pro tip: maybe John Mayer’s song Stop this Train, while an absolutely beautiful song should be avoided. You may burst into tears. In you car. In the Target parking lot.

Here’s the thing, G needs time with her Dad and his family. It’s so important to have those traditions and I wouldn’t dream of taking that time away. But this is the same guy who lets her stay up late and thinks pizza is a food group. So I worry. I miss her. I get lonely. As much as people say the holidays are hard for people and be compassionate, when it’s in their face it isn’t as easy to deal with as they post on Facebook. Sadly those are things you find out as a single parent. Not everyone is here to hold your hand. Friendsgiving invites are few and far between.

I think it’s harder this year for me because she’s hitting an age where she needs me less. Which will DEFINITELY be a blog for another day.

I’m a pretty independent person but I’m human.

“I have a happy personality with a heavy soul. Sometimes it gets weird.”

However, I am lucky. I have some people I can reach out to. Which as a guarded girl I still struggle with. Here’s the thing being sad doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human. So last night I poured a glass of wine, and chatted with one of my favorite fellow single Moms. I set some boundaries for myself. I had a good cry.

I snuggled with my majestic doodle. I let myself be sad.

The holidays are hard. Remember not everything is easy and that’s ok. You don’t have to be tough all the time. But maybe remember to let people in. Breathe. Share. I know it’s hard.

Let people love you. Let people hold your hand. Find the people you can chat with at 1030 at night who let you swear like a pirate, cry and make silly promises.

Give yourself a moment.

You got this Mama.

I believe in you.

~~Caprise

Single Mom of the amazing Dbl G
Teacher
Sometime DJ
T-shirt collector
Henry Rollins Middle Aged Punk Prom Date

The Bravest Thing I Ever Did-Cont;nuing

A few days ago someone said something to me that has been stirring inside me ever since.  Not a good stir.  And not a good topic.  Not something I would never talk about publicly, and never in a million years finding myself writing a blog about.  But in hopes of shedding some light on a much misunderstood topic, a very relevant one in today’s society, and one that is now a part of my story.  Suicide.  Relax.  Obviously I am here typing this story so it didn’t happen.  But if I were recording a tape from 13 Reasons Why this would be one of them.

Recently my world has literally fallen apart.  My wife, the love of my life, my everything, my best friend…left me.  My family torn apart.  I lost my job.  Had been out of work since February desperately looking for anything without any luck at all.  My daughter and I have been living on next to nothing trying to make ends meet the best we can.  Sounds like a country song right?  If only I could play it backwards and get it all back!  I have been deeply depressed.  And that is putting it lightly.  I stayed in bed for days on end.  Not eating.  Not sleeping.  Just crying.  Throwing up.  I would get up only to make sure my daughter had food or to take her where she needed to be.  I was endlessly applying for jobs.  I would put on my makeup, cry it off on the way there.  Fix myself in the car before going in.  Cry on the way back home.  Crawl back into bed.  And do it all over again the next time.  This went on for weeks.  Months.  The panic attacks are still insane.  I even have them in my sleep.  I wake up gasping for air, thinking I am dying because I cannot breathe.  Clinching at my chest, the tears rolling down my cheeks, trying to calm myself down as my heart is beating so hard I can feel it in my throat.  Wishing the dog could dial 911 so someone could come help me.  The mental and physical pain from a broken heart is real.  And it is unbearable. I write all this not to seek attention.  But to paint the picture of where this blog is going.

The way people deal with pain is different.  And to each their own.  On the night of June 5th, as I sat alone in my home, hysterical crying, I felt I was to the point where I needed the pain to stop.  I couldn’t take the physical pain another minute.  I was not the strong person everyone thought I was.  I was not the mother my daughter needed me to be.  I just wanted the pain I was feeling to go away.  So I took the keys to the truck and I went into the garage, and I started it.  And as I sat there crying the pain was more intense at that moment than it has ever been.  My broken heart…how was it even still beating? I called out for help.  But no one came.  I wanted to die, but only because I wanted to the pain to end.  It seemed like I had been in there forever.  How long did this take?  I was too scared.  So I turned it off and opened the garage door.  I cried myself to sleep sitting right there.  But the next night…I did it all over again.  And again….I was too scared.

So here’s where the stirring comes in…If anyone ever confides in you that they have attempted suicide…don’t tell them that’s the coward’s way out.  You have no idea what they are feeling or what they are going through.  And let me tell you something…everyone is entitled to how they feel.  You have no right to tell them how they should feel.  Anyone that is low enough to attempt to take their own life and is confiding in you with that information is trusting you enough that they think you will support them in some way shape or form, not come back with some type of negative comment such as that.  People who attempt suicide have their reasons and I can guarantee you that none of those reasons is to ever intentionally hurt someone they love. You’re missing the point completely. It’s solely about the pain they are feeling.   And if you can’t find anything to say that isn’t negative, then turn around and walk away without saying a damn thing!  If you cannot be supportive than learn to just be quiet.

I am in a better place now.  No I am in no way shape or form better.  I have a long way to go.  I may not ever be better.  I still hurt.  My heart is still in pieces.  I don’t know that I will ever be whole again.  Who knows.  But what I do know is that I was stopped both those nights for a reason, and am thankful for that reason.  I am not strong like I used to be, but I know I am brave because I was able to cont;nue on when I really, really didn’t want to.  And I know that I now have something else to advocate even stronger for, because it is more personal now more than ever.

Know that if you’ve felt this way, or are feeling this way now that you’re not alone, nor do you have to be a warrior in this battle alone.  There ARE people that care! Reach out…even if it’s to me!

Virtual hugs!

BLag

Halfway To 90 and Still Going Strong

My next birthday will fall upon Wednesday of next week. I will be halfway to the age of 90.

Let me take a breath to take this all in, insert heavy pregnant pause here. This drove my mind today. Try as I might, the numbers weren’t posting because my brain was sitting in Las Vegas. At a very posh hotel, baking in the sun, drinking a pina colada. This was how I celebrated 40.

What could I say at 40? I pontificated while sunbathing by the pool. Trying to feel adult and put together a respectful lesson to deliver on the return  to KY. Have I found the key to success? Did I have it all? Was I ever going to go back to college? Chase my career of working in law? Too heavy a subject for that day. I did keep asking myself: what is 40? Until I came home. And for the next 60 days, it was the same question. My much anticipated aha moment came in August.

Literally, overnight, a rash erupted on my lower arm. The biopsy returned with sjogren’s syndrome and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. I sat in shocked silence. This was the answer to my fatigue, to the butterfly rash on my face, the reason why my eyes are dry. Yes! I have the reason. Great! Flip that onto the not so great. I have two autoimmune disorders that are incurable. Chronic for the rest of my days.

This was the awakening that I was having for 40. It was time to chuck the small mindedness of everyday life. It was the kick in the backside to learn to enjoy my time on Mother Earth. It was time to live my life out loud and to do as I please. It was time to step forward and “do me”.

Five years later, I still wake up with the same credo. It hasn’t failed me yet. Don’t wait for the diagnosis to get your attention. Step up everyday and “do you”. It’s the best feeling in the world!

Striving for exceptional-Tristen Ahlsey

I Will Take It Minute By Minute

I Will Take It Minute by Minute…

A little history before you read this post. I wrote this shortly after my husband and I separated. We had a long and turbulent marriage. I was married for 12 years and we have 3 beautiful children. During those years I dealt with some physical abuse from my husband…infidelity on my husband’s part…drugs and drinking on my husband’s part…emotional abuse from my husband…the list goes on. That is not to say I was perfect but Lord how I tried to make it work.  It has been over a year now and I am happy to say that I am at a much better place!

The sadness I felt and often still feel is overwhelming. There is no other way to describe it.Some days takes everything I have to put one foot in front of the other. It takes every ounce of energy to get up…to get dressed…to eat…to be a mom…to care. I am not sure many people truly understand. After being married for so long…even though my children are with me…it is a very lonely feeling. Even though we had so many bad times, there were also good times. I just kept hoping the good times would win out. There are still just some days I feel like I am drowning with no way out.

Minute by Minute…

It is so hard to look at social media because my life is certainly not what I pictured it to be right now. My husband and I attended church together and I feel like I have been alienated by the church and community. I am in survival mode.

How can I do it all?

Only God knows how.

I am not going to make it without Him. I find myself turning to Him so much. God and my babies. Some days I am not sure how I get through them. I am not the person I want to be. I feel like I have never been good enough for my husband or his family. I feel abandoned by everyone. Am I that bad of a person that I don’t deserve something good? If it wasn’t for my children I don’t think I would even care. The hurt is just a lot. Lord help me climb out of whatever I am in.

There are so many questions about my future and my children’s future. So much uncertainty. So much fear of the future. I am so sad…so hurt. Still so hurt. Even though I made this decision (which I believe in my heart to be the right decision) it doesn’t make it any easier. Do I just feel too much? Can we fast forward to the easier part? Please oh please? Did I mean nothing to my husband? Does he not hurt? Does he not care? Did he ever care? He has hurt me so many times. What do I do? I pray…I get up every day and do it all again.

Minute by Minute…

I worry how this affects my kids. Will they be okay? I want something. I want someone to love me. To actually care about me. I want someone who wants to protect me instead of hurt me. Is that too much to ask for? Where will I be in a year? Where will I live? Will my kids understand why I did what I did? Will they blame me then like I feel they do now?

My reality is certainly not as bad as some…but it is my reality. Doesn’t make it any easier. Things could always be worse.

So here I am living on my faith…doing the best I can (trying) and waiting for the day things will get better. They will get better. Surviving the hard times is the hard part! Praying I can make it until then. Praying I will be worthy one day. Worthy as a Christian, as a mom, as a partner for someone who will be worthy of me!

Day by day is too much.

I will be taking it minute by minute.

~Ann~

Warrior Moms-I am With You.

Warrior Moms, I am With You.

 This is my introduction.

I did not sleep when my daughter was an infant. I held her as I sat upright on a couch while she slept. I held her so she could breathe. I wore eye shadow as war paint so my employer couldn’t see the dark circles, to keep my job.

I breast fed every 4 hours and pumped milk in between so she’d have enough.
I fought doctors, begging them to trust my instincts and listen, screaming I may be a new mom but I know my child. She had sinus infections before a literal sinus, lung collapse, recurring pneumonia and sleep apnea until her emergency surgery (with pneumonia) at 10 months old.

At the age of 3 she was diagnosed with an immune disorder which meant sinus infections 11 months of the year until she was 7. I battled and battered my body, moved us three times, tarred the driveway, and found a way.

It is worth it. You can do this.

My first dog (& co-parent) was diagnosed with cancer three days before Christmas. I sold my jewelry for her medicine, cooked special meals to starve the cancer and lost her (my heart) after an 11-month battle.

I dragged clothing to 10 years of consignment sales and shopped garage sales for toys and clothes. I changed jobs three times and haven’t had a date or break in almost 11 years.

I am with you, warrior moms, who have chronically ill children, work full-time, have a full plate, and have no spare time for you. You can do this.

My daughter just had her ballet recital. I watched her smile. Pause, breathe… arms out… jump and soar.

And I watched her bow.

It is worth it. You can do this.

For better or worse, it’s me.

Bernae

Finding Reality Outside Of The Box

Finding Reality Outside of The Box

By Cassandra Burnham

Today I wrote a note for myself on my office whiteboard. It read simply, “Forget the Box”.

What is the box? It’s me. More precisely, my life. It’s the person everyone else wants me to be and all the crap they want me to take. It’s their opinions and judgements. The box is full of all of the expectations they throw at me and it’s tied up with the pretty bow that is the “perfect” mom, daughter, worker, parent, friend…. But it’s not who I truly am. And it’s not what I want my life to be. I’m not perfect and I don’t belong in the box. I don’t want to live the life they want for me and I’m tired of trying.

Perhaps you, too have lived “the box”. You might not have even consciously realized it or considered what it meant. But you’d know the feeling. The feeling of constant pressure and demands to fit the mold, be the perfect whatever. Feeling like you’re constantly bending to fit the image that others want to seestraight-A student, agreeable daughter, dutiful wife, flawless PTO mom or live-to-work, hard-cracking executive. It’s exhausting really, cramming all of that into one person and trying to live up to so many high expectations. Seriously, the box sucks.

For me, one day the box just got too full and I realized that I was tired of shining those ribbons and I couldn’t possibly fit anything else inside. I was done with that overstuffed piece of crap – tired of pretending and tired of it all. But I’d been in there so long, I’d forgotten how to express my own truth and live life on my own terms. I’d spent so many years trying to be the perfect student, daughter, mom, friend, worker – that I had no idea who I really was (other than spectacularlynot perfect”).

But here’s what I did know. I have tattoos, I swear and I hate doing repetitive work. I hate making decisions and I hate homework. I hate being controlled and I hate being judged. Most of all, I hate that all of the people who had put me in that box had spent years controlling and judging me – and worse I let them. And when I opened that lid, got past all of the things I’d been hiding that I thought were so shameful – all of that hatred and anger, I found a few gems. I realized that I’m kind and loving and I have a lot to give. Not only was the box full of other people’s shit, but it was also full of lies grounded in self-defeat and fear.

So here I am. Climbing out of the box, working on change. From now on, I will focus on the people who don’t constantly fill the box. Instead I will seek out people who feel my warmth and know my heart and accept me for every bad choice I make, foul word I say or action they don’t agree with. I’ll be kinder to myself in the form of time and energy devoted to me so that I can figure out what I want and need. And I’ll practice positive self-talk that doesn’t give space to the old doubts that led me to the box. I don’t know where this journey is going and it’s scary as hell. But it’s time to figure out what life is like outside of the box where aything is possible and the only limits are the ones we put on ourselves.

Forget the box. It’s on my whiteboard. If you know what I’m talking about and you’re still in your bow-wrapped prison, I invite you to step out with me into the sunshine. And remember, you let people put you there – only you can pull yourself out of it.

Angels In Disguise Living Among Us

“I’ve seen & met Angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people, living ordinary lives.”

-Tracy Chapman

We all have those people in our lives that are our Angels-grandmas, grandpas, parents, siblings, friends, children-and not to sell them or their roll short but there is also at least one person everyone can think of that is just so spectacular in everything giving and helpful. Someone whom maybe you talk very little to or not at all. Someone who you wonder can be so kind and forgiving and with no judgement in reguards of what anyone or what they themselves have been through. Take a moment and think about who that person(s) may be to you? Maybe that person is yourself?

I use to sell my children’s outgrown clothing and toys on eBay many years ago when I still had the time to be able to list, pack and mail. I made fairly decent money at it and met a pretty amazing woman while doing so. She was opening a small shop in her area for the less fortunate and was buying items to stock her store with. Good quality, gently used items for children. Infants on up. She did this for little to no profit and we became friends as I always had a lot of what she needed. We would work out “deals” on the items I had and so she could still keep her store up and running. She was super excited when she was able to move her shop into a little larger more affordable location that her husband had remodeled for her….and then I heard nothing more! I would email her through eBay, I would email her through personal email. Eventually she responded and told me that her husband, who was in his early 50’s, had a massive heart attack and it killed him instantly. That was it-no good-bye or I love you’s-just gone. He was her and her daughter’s primary bread winner and had to close up shop and go back to work. We kept a relationship going through Facebook, nothing too much, likes on posts, Happy Birthdays, how are you’s? I could tell you what was currently going on in her life by her Facebook posts and her in mine but nothing personal beyond what was shared on social media. She struggled with the loss of her husband as anyone would. But she kept going and I watched her youngest daughter grow to be a young woman with a social media page of her own, which we also became “friends” as did her and my daughter as they were basically the same age.  One day she shared on Facebook that she had her daughter, who had not been feeling well, at the hospital…a few days later her 15 year old daughter(yes, 15) was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It was one of the hardest things as a mother of a teen daughter has ever witnessed. I cannot begin to imagine the pain she was in and still is. Her daughter lived approximately 3 months from diagnosis-they had a private page for friends and family to keep updated and to journal their experience.

This woman is one of many Angels…she has been through so much, that often I draw strength from her strength. Watching what she has gone through and continues to go through. She started a foundation almost immediately and has pushed through some political BS and some difficult situations because she wants NO ONE to have to experience what her family has. She has brought awareness in places and with people who had no idea that ovarian cancer can also affect young girls. She has a buddy program where she send packages to sick children and she is constantly meeting with other parents of sick children or sick themselves. She has spent many days and nights sitting with those who are dying and holding their hands  She is an Angel living an ordinary life, who has had tremendous losses, while doing extraordinary things, wearing ordinary clothes.

<3

Love to All-Kim