Featured Post

This Phoenix Speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks , is now a reality. The tireless and tiring work invested to ma...

to be refined

I don't know what to say anymore. My life continues on with these unending waves of hardship that push me under until I nearly drown. And yet, I know I'm not unique. Many people go through hard things and periods of trouble. It's part of the human experience. That's what they say anyway.

When will we find a stretch of peace—my children and I? My faith is my source that truly grants much of it. I have support from some family members, friends, neighbors, and church members. Tuning into the spirit really opens my mind to possibilities and answers I didn't have until I prayed. And my life is just plain better because of the lifestyle of spiritual cultivation that I have embraced.

All of that said, I can't imagine where I'd be without the hope and faith that is in me right now. I believe that those two things have kept me from being able to see what giving up looks like. It's just not a path I visualize. In all of my bouts of wanting to quit, I never could imagine it actually happening. It has never looked better than keeping on keeping on even on the worst days. But you know, I have cried a great deal over the past several years, and I really don't know what to expect from day-to-day anymore.

It's hard living in a fire.

sweet exhaustion

You know something? There's a lot of garbage going down around this place. I have no time to breathe. When I do stop to take an extra breath, it's because I'm turning a blind eye to all the other things that need to be done because I refuse to go crazy. And as stupid as this may sound, I feel guilty for not being able to get more done because I do take time out of the day to stop facing the continuous torrent of issues. I am tired. The past two days, I've been downright exhausted to the point that my brain isn't able to think of much else except for sleeping. I could rag forever. I could cry almost as long too.

However, I have so much to be glad for. I am so tired because I have my children to take care of. I have so much to do because they need my help to keep on surviving this jungle we live in, and thank goodness I have some ideas on how to help them and power to act on those ideas. My brain is struggling to come up with ideas because I have a good job that expects great things from me, and the challenge is keeping me sharp. That guilt has got to go, yet I'm thankful that I'm informed enough to know that I need to take time out of these crazy hectic days to take care of myself.

I have so much. It feels good to know that I'm tired from doing well in the world. That knowledge provides hope. It reminds me that I can overcome my circumstances and create better ones. I am loved by many people in many ways like hugs and talking and especially time. Some unique support comes in various packages around here—like cake dropped off at my door and late night runs to the grocery store and actual packages. A listening ear is one of the most priceless when I stop to think about it, but cake sure does make a difference on days like today.

I'm really crossing my fingers that one of these days I will look around me and see that things are actually alright in that moment, that I have someone by my side to love and support, and my children are thriving and not simply surviving. Until then, I'll be glad for the faith and hope that keeps this fire within me burning bright.

Seeking to Become - September 2015

I've pondered a very long while on the subject of how to love others. With differing relationships, the nature of the love differs as well, but it is always called the same thing: love. Love is when we care about another's well-being. It can entail self-sacrifice at times. Love is always a good thing, but that doesn't mean it's always a simple thing to do.

These thoughts of mine have come about because I have been struggling to ensure that my children feel loved. They are most certainly loved, but what I wonder almost daily is if they realize it and can see because they feel it. They are all growing up so quickly, and the problems are becoming complex, as is normal, but I hope to be a guiding light for them, not an added reason for years of therapy.

Another aspect of my life that has caused me to ponder how to better love people is that I recognize a dilemma, and I don't know what to do with it. I can't even figure out how to describe the dilemma without oversharing, and I don't want to do that this go around. I'll simply share some of the questions that float around as I strive to be honest and kind and loving. How do you love someone without becoming invested? Is that even possible? What does it take to truly feel the pure love of Christ for others? What more can I do to be loving without being rejected? What could I do a little differently to offer pure love to those around me? I wonder what answers will come to me as life plays out. I am at another crossroads with a blindfold on almost.

Without searching the topic out, I discovered these scriptures where Paul is writing to the Thessalonians and explaining how the apostles loved them and showed them through not becoming a burden. And I saw part of my answer to these questions:

 5  For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness:
 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
1 Thessalonians 2:5-8
I realized in that moment how I simply need to keep being kind and loving, avoid being burdensome, and reach out with gentleness to the people I love. I especially was struck by the words affectionately desirous and the last lines "willing to have imparted unto you…our own souls, because ye [are] dear unto us." As I let those words sink into my heart and comfort my questioning soul, I know what I need to do.

This month I want to follow the example of the apostles in my seeking to become more like the Savior and love with a pure heart. Doing things to show how dear people are to me and being gentle and affectionate. Honesty of heart and speaking truthfulness without flattery are goals to work toward as well. As the month goes on, I hope to develop some new habits of appreciation or at least improve upon what I do by doing things a little bit differently.

I hope you will join me in the challenge this month. If you feel comfortable, I cordially invite you to share your experience or thoughts.

painting of the day

Standing on a ledge
Looking out into the unforgiving oblivion
That lies beneath the surface
A pure and perfect light comes on
Hope and heart
Painting its way into the scenery
Create a space for comfort
Make room for fresh air to breathe
Reach and the way out can be seen
It's on the other side of the valley
Where your tears go to die
On the top of glorious mountains
Where the sun melts on rocks and trees
In gleaming gold to shine on untouched days
Arriving like a welcomed guest
Bringing sweet embrace
With sparkling memories to make
While standing on a ledge
Proving how oblivion is a lie

the big prize

Love is a funny and not funny thing. It's funny how you get so silly about someone. How does that even happen? You can be surrounded by hundreds of people and out of the crowd just one person holds your attention. It's as if our souls are able to connect first, and then we spend our days working out how to get the rest of everything to click. And sometimes our stupidity pushes out that connection like a wrong number, a missed connection, a busy signal when dialing into the radio station to win the big prize. And we lose out. But not always. Some people find it all: the friendship, the love, the support, the intimacy, and even the problems to overcome together that make the bond stronger.

Well, I certainly am no loser. I just can't seem to find my way around people not making the crucial decision of loving me enough to want to stay. And you know what? On really bad days, I might as well be a leper for all the negative things I'm able to dig up on myself—that are true. But then I think about the good side of me, and I just can't understand it all. What's so wrong with me? I won't stop being who I am because that's simply not what I do. Maybe I keep things too real. Perhaps I'm simply not ready yet. Who even knows.

I write these things here right now, so I can remember where I am today. I want to remember these feelings. Not to cherish them, but hopefully to mark progress and increased joy. That's what I need right now, to see that I can reach my dreams one day at a time. I will mark the days with joy in the hope that it will grow with practice. I will continue to work on who I want to be and to create space in my life. Gratitude is the seed for joy. Focusing on being glad for what is going well certainly will make a difference. The big prize is recognizing what you have in the moment and being thankful for it. I will focus on that.

self absorbed emotions

Another friend gone to heaven this year on the vehicle called cancer. Such a kind and loving person showing us all how hope gets us through pain and suffering. She was so good, so sweet. She has two young children. And her loving husband is heartbroken.  My heart breaks for them. Tears have hardly stopped falling even though it's been many years since I've even seen this friend in person. And yet—it hits home. It has struck a nerve that is painful. I think of my own mortality, my family situation, how blessed I am to be well.

And now, all I can think about is how life is so short; I am not good enough to die young, so I will certainly be around to watch all my loved ones leave (plus, at the moment my kids would be up a creek without me); I burned up almost half of my lifetime thus far on a dirtbag who didn't love me; and there is no one banging down my door any time soon that I can tell. It appears terrifically hopeless actually. 

However, my hope for happier things keeps me looking up. My faith whispers that God loves me and is watching over me and my children and will make it all right somehow. Someday. But I want to pretend like I can choose when. I don't want things to work out after an entire lifetime of suffering. I want to enjoy a sense of belonging with someone before I die—long before I die. I wish I could see a little further to get a glimpse of hope realized. Alas, life doesn't work that way.

I will say that I've been thankful in each day of over-scheduled mess for being kept safe, having time enough to accomplish all that is required of me to care for my children, and now, so poignantly, that I have the strength of mind and body to carry on. This entire situation is humbling, and I realize how little I have in a few areas but also the immensity of blessings that keep my life vibrant and filled with undeniable love and light. 

As I close my writing, I realize how my compassion goes out to my friend's family, but the bulk of my sadness is wrapped up in pitying myself and realizing what is lacking in my life and feeling quite distressed that I could leave this life never having experienced a reciprocated or shared lasting love relationship. It's appallingly self-absorbed of me, but these things are what have set my heart on fire, and I guess my weakness might teach others. That's what I can hope anyway. 

Related Link:

How I See Heaven

how I see heaven

I just wish I could spend a day
With every member of my family,
Children, brothers, cousins,
Aunts, uncles, grandparents,
And then spend another
With all my friends I've ever had
Where love was never lost just forgotten
Or separated by situation.
Another day would be spent
With loved ones who have gone before,
To reconnect, to join in sweet embrace.
Then, I'd have a day with everyone
And all their circles of family and friends
Where we spend the rest of our existence
Getting to the heart of each soul
Loving each other past misunderstanding or conflict.
And in the midst of these everlasting days,
Someone would see me—really see me—
And take my hand and never let go.


At the end of my first day of classes, I was reflecting on it and wanted to come up with one word to describe the experience. The first word that popped in my head was severe. I know that might sound like it was a terrible day, but I assure you it was not terrible. How was it severe then? I will outline it for you.

Before School: 

Severe fashion problem; somehow I overlooked planning out my outfit for the day! Severely short on time because my elementary school aged child decided he didn't know how to get ready for school on time. Traffic was severe. End of that discussion. Severely hectic while carrying a severe amount of bags and boxes of severely last minute supplies into the classroom with some of said boxes being severely heavy. 

During School: 

Severely wonderful start to the school day with a severely loud cheer for me at the morning assembly. I felt so accepted and welcomed back. Severely joyful reunion with 80-90% of my classes having returning students in them. Severely short class periods (because of the assembly) made me feel severely rushed. 

After School: 

Severely busy. Getting my sousaphone player to band practice five minutes late, driving for forty-five minutes (each way) for a child's doctor appointment, driving back to school to re-film an instructional video, picking up dinner on the way to the school for my family, talking to the air for a video syllabus, and driving home past my children's bedtime but stopping for ice cream cones because the day demanded a little treat. Wrangling monkey people into bed while absolutely exhausted in all ways. 

A full and successful first day of teaching, but it is severity at its finest. Right?