Posted in Self Help

Pass it on…

Is it really almost September?

I look back and think the last eight months have been pretty much a blur. Kids had an extended break from school, were back and forth from college, and at times cancer even took a back seat in my mind thanks to a much needed break from dealing with it.

So many people have said they just want this year to be over with, but I tend to not lean in that direction thinking it could be precious time I’m giving up. None of us are promised tomorrow, so what if that meant we were wishing our last days away?

I imagine that’s not something any of us are ready to think about.

I’ll be the first to admit I want life to be more like it used to be, back to normal (whatever that is), and a little less stressed and uncertain. But, like I’ve said before, cancer took all that away from our family long before this virus did.

Cancer has taught me a lot, and this virus is teaching me even more.

I’m tired of wearing a mask, tired of social distancing, tired of not being able to get out as much. However, I’m not tired of being with my family, having the kids at home more often, or focusing on being together more than being on the go. I’m sure part of me will look back on this year and find there’s much about it to love.

Time is something we cannot get back, and our kids will never be as young as they were this summer. They aren’t getting younger, and our time with them is precious.

I hope people haven’t forgotten to stop and smell the roses. Too busy arguing or debating or disagreeing about whether or not the pandemic is valid. Not enough time looking for a silver lining.

We are all dealing with something.

If you believe in fate, or everything happens for a reason, or the way it’s suppose to happen, then maybe, just maybe all this is part of a bigger picture. Maybe this is a wake up call for us to get it together.

Maybe we should just be nice or build each other up or throw out a compliment here and there and maybe, just maybe, respect other opinions even if they aren’t our own. Maybe we should be thinking of this “break” from life as something that is much needed.

I know I will never regret the extra days, extra moments, extra memories my children got to share with their dad this summer. In the back of my mind, I know it is golden.

I do realize enough is enough though.

Summer is coming to an end. Kids are attempting to get back to class.

Our mental health is at stake in many cases. More often than not life is a challenge, and it takes a conscious effort to stay positive and upbeat.

We cannot let what is happening in our society divide us or keep us down. We can’t afford that.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill

I know depression and anxiety are mounding, people are struggling, and no one can take much more. People are grappling with this restricted way of life. They don’t get up, get dressed, put on makeup. They don’t leave the house, or get out, or have much social interaction. They’ve let themselves go.

Physically and mentally.

And, that’s not a good thing.

I made a new friend on social media last week, because I felt the need to help someone who needed some encouragement. It reminded me of the chaos my life has been in for the last two years, the times I felt I wasn’t strong enough to deal with it, and it also reminded me of how much better I am because of it. So, I decided I needed to pass that on.

It’s not an everyday thing we wake up with. Strength that is. I pray for it all the time, sometimes multiple times in a day.

Especially in a world where there is so much commotion, we have to learn to quiet the noise in our head. It is our hope. And, I don’t want anyone to lose hope.

Ever!

If you’re going through hell keep going.

Winston Churchill

If you ever feel yourself losing hope, losing your positive edge, keep going. Some days hope is all we have, and we can never lose sight of it.

We are better than that.

We are strong, beautiful souls.

So I say, lift each other up. Give a compliment a day, say hello to a stranger at the grocery, smile, check on a friend. It simply takes a minute to say a kind word, to brighten someone’s day, give them a boost, to pray for them. Pass on your positivity.

And, we just may be the one person who brightens someone’s day, who makes a person realize how valuable they are, or gives a ray of hope to someone who has lost it.

Positive thoughts. Positive vibes.

They can be contagious. Pass them on.

In a couple of weeks I may be a hot mess, but today, I know I am strong and focused and in the right mindset.

Today, that’s all I need to think about.

One day at a time. Pass it on.

I know where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. And, I know where I want to go. I may not always know how to get there, but the Lord is leading me on my path, and I know I can trust the journey.

Today, it’s a good day. Pass it on…

Posted in Devotional

The New Normal

Can you define normal?

The normal most of us have been accustomed to for much of our lives is out there in limbo somewhere scuffling to survive. And, I hate to be the one to break it to everyone, but I don’t think it’s coming back anytime soon.

At times, I have tried desperately to stop the noise. The talk of the pandemic, the political strategies, the negativity, the debate on schools, the opening of the country. It is an abundance of information to process. And, most of it is negative.

It is entirely too much.

And, I don’t have the answers.

Much of the time I don’t know what the questions are.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

I do know we are in this together, although we may not all agree on the situation, we are one.

If you have ever read about the end of times and some of what the Bible says it can be a little intimidating. Scary almost. The Antichrist, the beast, a war waged on Christians.

Before I go off in another direction, my point is simply this. We cannot flip a switch and make this go away. We cannot sit and wait for normal to return. We cannot put our lives on hold.

We cannot live under a rock, in fear, in anger, in oblivion. We must keep moving and trust in the Lord.

We are all grieving right now. We are mourning the way our lives used to be and our freedom. We have unknowingly taken so much for granted, and just presumed living would always be just the way we imagined.

The pandemic has affected most everyone’s mental health. It has been difficult on us as adults and especially as parents. We grieve for our old lives, we grieve for our children losing out on school and sports and socialization. We mourn for what we have always had and always known.

It is a difficult state to be in. Depressing.

It has created an incompetency that our mentality cannot digest.

However, our children are more resilient than we think. We need to give them credit, give them support but keep moving forward, out of this darkness, this fog that is hindering everything good within us.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 14:27

Everytime I think about what has been taken from me and my family I relate it to cancer.

This pandemic hasn’t caused any grieving that cancer hasn’t already caused us; however, at times, it has exemplified the pain and the alienation and the anxiety.

But, it didn’t cause it, and I’m not going to let it reside over my life.

Another example of what cancer has taught me.

I have been grieving for two years now. I have been a mental mess for most of it, and I find it is sometimes a daily struggle.

Still.

Before the pandemic hit there were times I had to social distance, stay home, sit in a hospital, and wear a mask. Being a caregiver for my hubby, a wound care nurse, giving daily shots, administering IV antibiotics, keeping up with pain meds, prescriptions, doctor’s appointments, scans, and symptoms is more than overwhelming at times.

I never thought I had the strength I have found in myself, and for that I am so thankful. It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t have a choice.

And sadly, we don’t have a choice in many situations right now, but we do have a choice in how we deal with them.

I have sat alone at night while everyone was sleeping and cried and begged and pleaded for my husband, my children to not have to go through this cancer fight. I have asked God why, I have made myself sick, and I have fought to comprehend what is happening. I have stayed in my nightgown all day, not hardly gotten off the couch, cried in the shower so no one would know, and mislead my friends and family in believing I am OK.

At times, I have lived in fear, struggled to trust in the Lord, and wondered if I had enough strength and hope to get through the day. There have been moments my children were the ONLY focus I had that could drag me out of the darkness. Having the four of them has been my saving grace.

Many of you feel the pandemic has stolen your normal, but cancer stole that from my family awhile ago.

Even on bad days, even in times I fight to stay afloat, I refuse to give in.

I cannot.

I will stay positive for my children’s sake. I will make the most of this situation. It may not be normal, and it may not be what I imagined, but it is what it is. How I handle it is what matters.

It is up to us to make the new normal our normal.

We can let it take us down like quicksand, or we can embrace the change and keep moving forward. The choice is simply ours.

My Refuge and My Fortress

1Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14“Because he That is, probably the king loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 91

Posted in Family

My 2 Pair

You were not suppose to grow up this fast.

It seems just a few years ago we took the family picture hanging above the fireplace that I sit and stare at every morning and night. I think in reality it’s going on 14. Life just happens so quickly, and I don’t understand why.

The four of you were just babies last time I checked, and now, you’re all grown up going off to college and counting down the last days of high school.

Am I really old enough to have college kids with only one left in high school? That can’t be right, can it?

I have spent most of the time I want to remember of my life being a mother. It has by far been the best job, best time, most rewarding, most difficult, and my all around favorite period of my life. I am so thankful for and proud of each one of you.

We have some great memories, and I cherish the times we sit around together and reminisce about what you all remember most in your childhoods. No matter what happens or where you go those will remain in your heart and in mine.

I have too many favorite ones to list, but I loved how the big sisters always took care of the little brothers. I love how one of you adored babies so much, how one had a baby shower when I was pregnant with number four. One of you always wore dresses and refused to wear pull-ups to bed because you were a big girl. How your baby brother got to ride in your baby doll stroller.

The boys always looked out for each other. Played sports together, had birthday parties together, shared friends, shared rooms, shared everything. Even though one of you left for college this weekend, I hope you will always look out for each other and be the best of friends.

You all are so lucky to have a brother and a sister. I couldn’t have planned it more perfect if I tried. My two pair. My twins, my triplets, and whatever else people have mistaken you to be, you have each other. I envy each of you for what you have between you. It is a bond many have never experienced.

I love to sit and listen to you all laugh together, make plans with one another. It makes me smile that you stick together. Even when you harass each other, pick on one another, it is a time in your life you will never forget.

It is the first time you all have lived in four separate cities, constantly apart, going to different schools. It’s the first time at least two of you won’t share the first day of school together. It is the first time I will have four separate first day of school pictures. (Don’t forget to take those.)

It’s the first of many firsts for me, and I feel the job of being a mom, the way I have known my purpose to be, slipping away from me. I simply want you to know, it has been the best years, even during the hard stages. I wouldn’t want to change them.

Part of me is so sad today I have moved my third child into college, but most of me is so grateful I got to raise you and be your mom. It’s not the end by any means, but simply the beginning for the next phase of our lives. I know each of you are excited for your journey, for individual reasons, and each of you will make your mark.

The only request I have is to always remember family and each other, cherish your siblings, call one another, talk, be best friends, and look out for the others.

For my three oldest children, I am so happy for you. I’m so glad I raised you to go out and be independent and chase your dreams. I am always here for you, a phone call away so don’t forget to call your mom.

For my baby boy left at home, I’m looking forward to our time together, you being the only child at home. I’m thankful I have you with me, for your hugs, and your comfort when I’m sad, and just to be here so my job is not done.

Always remember how much I love each of you and how blessed I am to be your mom. Work your hardest in school, reach for the stars, do what makes you happy, and I will be watching from the sidelines cheering you on. Make me proud.

Even though I wish I could stop time, go back to your younger years, you are where you are suppose to be and these are the moments you have waited for. I realize my job is just transforming into a less active role in your life, and I will embrace it because I have faith in you.

Remember your manners, remember your life lessons, and remember to be gracious. Go to chapel, go to church, believe in something. But most of all believe in yourself.

I love you all to the moon and back, and I cannot wait to see the places you will go.

You all have a special place in my heart. xo MOM

Posted in Devotional

Action Required

Do you ever feel like the world is crumbling around you, and you need to take action?

I swear I look around and wonder what’s happening to us. I’ve been trying to stay off social media, but last night I just blew it up. I don’t know what came over me…other than I’m sick and tired of everything.

Stressed.

Depressed.

Overwhelmed.

Consumed with the chaos.

I keep telling myself to just step back away from it all. It’s better to be out of the loop.

In some cases, yes.

I don’t know what’s going on in the world half the time, and the other half I know more than I care to know. Some days I think I can’t keep up with the local news if I don’t scroll Facebook. It’s like an addiction. I know it’s bad for me, and I’m going to come away with a headache, but I get sucked in by everyone else doing it.

I hate that so much.

I’m out of my routine, and that’s a bad thing. It leaves too much space for my mind to wander. Too much free time, wasted.

I love summer with the kids, but as soon as this crazy virus hit it sent my self-discipline out the window. And, my routine with it.

This may sound crazy, but it seems to me everything is a distraction from what really matters. I cannot focus enough to write my blog, stay mentally healthy or have a normal schedule. Before this hit I felt tuned in to everything that was good and positive.

I was on track, on the right road. Healthy. Not faking it.

Now, I just feel disoriented.

Lost in the chaos and looking for some sort of order. I need structure back in my life. I’m hoping to find that in the coming weeks as the kids settle back into school, and I attempt to settle back into my own focus of staying positive and healthy.

I was thinking the other day…the devil is at work. Tearing me away, putting doubt in my mind.

I’m not proud to admit I falter in my faith. I have good intentions, but I seem to stumble lately. I stumble a lot. I search for my sanity…getting back on track, and then it’s like I hit a road block and every intention flies out the window.

I’m flustered, but I’m also determined to get my mind right. After all, half the battle is our mindset.

Right?

Today, it’s the beginning of a new day.

Some action is required!

Just as Peter used his fear to put his faith in God, we too, should remember to use each opportunity as a stepping stone to become closer to Him. We just have to make a conscious effort to do it and trust in the Lord.

28 And Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ 29 He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’.” 

Matthew 14:28-33

We cannot lose hope. Ever.

Everything in my life revolves around my family, my children, and hubby’s cancer. It’s sad in a sense of what drives me, but on the other hand it gives me the opportunity to strengthen my faith that God’s plan is already laid out, and He will take action to lead us on our journey. When I remind myself of that, I do what I’m suppose to do.

Trust rather than worry.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6:34

Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but in the end I believe in my soul there is a reasoning for it all. All the time I spend worrying about situations I cannot control takes away from living my life to the fullest. I cannot cure the virus or calm the fears, nor can I stop the cancer.

Faith calms my heart in times of anxiousness and fear and eases my mind. It provides the peace I need, the strength to get through the tough days, and the hope I cannot live without.

It is simply our action to believe that’s required. And, in a world where we are living with only the essentials, faith is a prerequisite. xo

Posted in Self Help

Stop the Noise

Stressful days seem to be a dime a dozen these days, don’t they?

I slipped away from my family tonight to take a short walk, talk to my daughter on the phone, and hit reset in my mind. It’s just one of those days where life is hitting below the belt and weighing on my mind.

There’s nothing new, it’s just I need some idle time.

Some days I can’t explain why I’m feeling more anxious or overwhelmed or stressed. I just am not myself. There are moments I can’t remember what “my old self” is even like. I don’t think I can find my way back there, and if I did I think I wouldn’t be surprised to find the old me doesn’t exist.

There are times I feel like my mind is in a traffic jam, horns and noise all around me, and I cannot figure out where to go. I’m not lost, I just don’t know where I am. And, I’m struggling to find my course.

Maybe it’s the lack of sleep I’ve been getting. The traveling. Maybe it’s the sleepless nights that plagued me over the last few weeks. Maybe it’s just the pandemonium among us.

It’s possibly the thought in the back of my mind that I know of three people who have died in the last six weeks of cancer. That alone is hitting close to home, and it’s hitting me hard.

Perhaps it’s hearing everyone talk about their future plans, and me pushing those thoughts to the back of my mind.

Last night, I read something that really got my mind reeling. Something that has been on my subconscious, but didn’t really settle in until I saw it written out.

I immediately had a response regarding the commotion that surrounds me.

I’m tired of all the noise.

I’m tired of hearing all the static. All the whining. All the self pity. All the dead end debates.

I’m tired of it.

Tired of all the racket.

Tired of the negativity. Tired of the complaining.

I’m tired. Tired of it all.

Tired of social media. Tired of people. Tired of opinions. Tired of quarantine debates.

Tired of it all.

Actually, I’m sick of it.

Sick of people. Sick of opinions of what I should and should not do. Sick of the school debate. Sick of hearing about unjust.

I’m tired of online or in person. I’m tired of mask or no mask.

I’m tired of the debates. The this vs. that.

I’m tired people.

I’m sick and tired!

I don’t mean to offend anyone. I don’t mean to hurt feelings. Really, I don’t.

I just cannot take one more minute of it.

We are all struggling to some degree.

And, I don’t want to hear the noise. I don’t want to listen to it.

I imagine no one else does either.

So, if you’re causing any noise?

STOP! Please, just stop.

Stop the noise.