Take a Number

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I remember going to the meat market when I was a little girl. We would walk up to the counter, take a number and make our way to the back of the line. One by one, numbers would flash across the board in red and customers would purchase their meat and move on. We’d stand and wait until it was our turn.

When I took Kayleigh to get her license, we grabbed another number and sat down on a chair to wait. The anticipation was building and as her number got closer, I could see the excitement on her face.

There is also a number in life. You don’t physically walk up to a counter and take one in your hand but you wait just the same. You wait for your husband to finish up his work so maybe you can have a conversation before its time to go to bed. You wait for your daughter to get home from practice so you can feed her dinner and clean up the plates. You wait for your son to finish his homework so you can finally sit down and take time for yourself. You wait and wait and then it’s time to go to bed. Maybe tomorrow you say to yourself as you lay awake hoping to fall asleep. Then you wake up and do it again and again. Everywhere you go, it’s the same thing. Take a number please, I will be with you as soon as I can. Days turn into weeks and weeks into years and one day you run out of numbers to take.

Time is so precious. Why is life filled with the wrong things? Endless hours of work, homework, chores, bills but when is it time for the living part? When will there be time to sit down and have a conversation without being mentally pulled to finish those “important” things on your list? When did family stop being a priority? When did couples stop spending time together? When did families and relationships start to fall apart so easily?

Take a number. You are right after folding clothes and starting the dishwasher. Almost time, you are up after helping with homework and checking email. Just a few more minutes after doing bills and watching tv. After many hours the sign goes up, sorry we’re closed. Come back tomorrow. Maybe one day you won’t come back. There will be no more waiting. You are not a number.

Can You Handle The Truth? 

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I gave some more thought to all these latest episodes of senseless violence. I listen to debate over debate about whether stricter gun laws or taking guns away altogether is a logical answer. I think there are many factors coming into play that most people don’t even consider. Despite how people might respond, I feel the need to offer my two cents. By all means, my words are not right or wrong, they are only my personal opinion. Do I think guns are a problem? You bet I do but guns cannot kill without someone pulling the trigger. We cannot deny that people are the biggest problem. I believe you could take away every single gun but as long as there is still a lack of respect among people, this world will remain unchanged. It physically pains me that someone’s beliefs or opinions hold more value than another human life. How can people kill others just because they think a different way or live a different way? I will tell you how. People have become consumed with themselves. They are selfish and entitled to do whatever they want, even if that means taking another life. The worst part of all is there is no remorse. We have desensitized people to the value of life and the significance of how each and every person contributes in his or her way. We are made to be different and choose a lifestyle that comfortably fits. We all matter but we live in a world of contradictions. The line between black and white has faded away and we are lost in a sea of gray. I can’t ignore the All Lives Matter theme that has been so popular over the past year. What does that mean exactly? I’ve heard it altered many ways. Black lives matter, white lives matter, cops lives matter. As long as we feel the need to insert an adjective before lives, we are in serious trouble. We separate ourselves into groups and we exclude groups that make us uncomfortable or who don’t fit into our little niche. So what  do we mean when we say “All lives matter?”All lives who agree with our own way of living matter? Are there exceptions or is the meaning so precise that there is no room for misunderstanding? Why am I bringing this up? Do I think the two problems are connected. Yes, I really do. Our words imply one thing and our actions imply another. I believe there is an ongoing lack of respect among people and for human life itself. If all lives mattered, there would be no abortion but we think a woman has the right to decide which lives do. Look at the death penalty. When someone kills another human being, in some states the way we deal with that issue is by killing them. How in the hell does that even make sense? I am going to punish you for killing someone and how am I going to do that? By killing you. So killing is wrong when you do it but when I sentence you to death and you are killed, then it’s okay. So which lives matter? The lives of people who do not commit heinous crimes? The lives of the tiny babies who we decide we want to keep around? The truth is lives matter when we say they do. This disrespect, disregard and dismissal of the value for each and every life because of the way we define it makes every life seem a little less significant. This lack of appreciation for the significance of each and every life along with mean, violent, crazy people who lack moral value and self control with the addition of guns is slowly destroying humanity one day at a time. If we believe we can determine which lives matter then we can continue to pick and choose whether it’s by abortion, guns, the death penalty or any other way we see fit to take that life away. This is so much more than what we see superficially. Guns don’t make people crazy, but having no regard for another’s life gives us the idea that we can take it or save it whenever and however we see fit. Don’t agree that the majority do not respect people with different views? Watch our politicians, turn on tv, pull up Facebook and look through some of the comments. Is this what respect looks like these days? Someone flips you the bird because you piss them off for driving the speed limit. Is that respect? Go to any Starbucks counter and watch how people treat the workers. “I need a cup of coffee.” You NEED one? People feel better or inferior to others. The inferior ones get swallowed up and the better ones? They are nasty, pushy bullies. Not everyone will agree and that’s okay but it is something worth considering. Is one directly linked to the other? Who really knows but I believe everything is connected excluding the people. That is the part that is truly devastating. Feeling connected is determined by too many things, the wrong things. Feeling connected is conditional and some people will sell their souls. The color of skin, the same religion, the same economical or educational level. Is that what we’ve come? We are becoming more superficial and pompous every single day. It is a travesty and I do my best to add kindness and compassion and love to a world that desperately needs it. Will that be enough? Will taking away guns be enough? How about stopping abortion and outlawing the death penalty? What will it take? Better yet, what are you willing to do?

A Heavy Heart

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When there is a tragedy such as the one in Oregon, most of us feel a looming sense of sadness. It is a time the world needs to come together to mourn and heal. This one really hit home with me. Maybe it’s because I know my daughter will be in college after next year. Maybe it’s just because I am a mom and the mere thought of losing one of my babies to something so senseless and unnecessary brings me to my knees as my head tries to find an answer to the question, how could anyone do something like this? I have such a deep respect for all lives. I couldn’t even fathom the idea of personally making a choice to end someone else’s. My heart hurts tonight for the hate and the anger and the violence that are infecting the hearts and minds of so many. There is so much kindness in the world but there is also hatred and vengeance and a lack of self control that allows someone to shoot innocent people down without batting an eyelash. There are people who can saw the heads off of human beings because their religious beliefs are different from their own. It is hard for me to allow myself to go to this place and admit their are people who live without a heart. There are those who lack understanding and compassion and it’s like missing the last piece to a 2000 piece puzzle. No one knows where it went or why it isn’t there, it’s just gone and that’s the way it’s going to be. What is the answer then? To argue over gun rights and point fingers back and forth while people’s hearts are being torn out from the pain of learning one of those people shot today was their daughter, son, wife, mother, father? Can we overturn this darkness by loving the hate right out of people?  Is this a cry out to others because of a lack of love and attention they have in their own lives? Is this the only way they feel anyone will notice they even exist? Is it possible people are born with the incapacity to love, respect and sympathize with a fellow human being? What could happen that is so horrific that someone could mindlessly take the life of another innocent soul? My heart is so heavy tonight. It feels like it is ripping right out of my chest. Be better today than you were yesterday. Be kinder and gentler and send more love out into the world than ever before. Let go of anger. Take care of your own crap and don’t dump it onto other people. If you must be angry, keep it to yourself and don’t allow yourself to inflict your pain onto anyone else. Be accountable for who you are and what you contribute to the world. Every word, every action and every thought makes this world better or bitter. Choose wisely because your decision matters.

If Tomorrow Never Comes

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Dream Big, Dream Often wrote a post I recently reblogged called, In the blink of an eye the life you know can change forever. Those words are scary and they are so true. I do believe some of us are more aware of this than others. I’ve been tapped into that knowing for quite some time now to the point I think it may cause some of my anxiety. I remember a time not so long ago that should have been a happy time. It was a holiday and everyone was aggravated and focused on the things that really don’t matter. I was devastated and for good reason. I knew that that day, that moment was one we could never get back. I wanted so much for it to be special and filled with laughter and love but the day had a different plan. I spent the day mourning what should have been while I was sick inside over what it was. I knew I couldn’t change it, I just wished other people could see the significance of the day for what it was. A chance for us to embrace this time we were fortunate enough to have where we were there all together. The truth is, because I don’t live close to family, every time  I visit, I feel so grateful that all the people I love are right there all around me. I spend a lot of time alone and it means so much to have these opportunities that are few and far between. So, when I watch them get ruined over something ridiculous, it absolutely breaks me heart. We cannot get a single minute back and we have to live every day trying to remember how precious each and every moment really is.

There is a girl I know from my childhood who is very sick. I follow her story on Facebook and from one day to the next, her life really does significantly change. She is so grateful for the outpouring of support and for the days she feels well enough to get out of bed. But the rest of us? We get so crazy over the littlest things. The hard part is trying to keep it all in perspective because we have no control over the things that feel “big”. We get stressed and angry and anxious and often times we don’t choose those feelings, they just show up and we don’t have the ability to make them go away. We are human beings doing the best we can. We are affected by the news, the people in our lives, even an innocent message from someone on Facebook or WordPress. We feel and its that very thing that reminds us we are alive. We have to feel the difficult moments so we can fully embrace and feel the amazing ones. It doesn’t seem fair but the reality is we cannot pick and choose. So today and everyday, it’s important to remind ourselves to be grateful for the life we have today. We have to appreciate all of it, the good, the bad and the in between. Every circumstance or person who presents itself offers something, maybe simply a lesson, we just never know. The hard part is believing we are who we are in this moment because of each and every day, not just the ones we would handpick for ourselves to remember. That trust is one of the hardest things. Appreciate all of it. Every person who has made you feel love and all the ones that leave you with pain and regret. Embrace the good memories, the bad memories and try and accept and love people just the way they are. It’s true, we could wake up tomorrow and our whole world could be shaken up, changed. And what choice would we have but to go on and do our best to try harder, love deeper and remember today is a gift we may not have the privilege to open tomorrow. Pick up the phone today and call a friend. Plan a day to meet for coffee or start planning that visit home. Let people know they mean something to you. That is a gift we all love to receive. Live smarter and love deeper and forgive yourself when you have a tough day. You never know what tomorrow will bring so make sure you appreciate today.

When Life is Out of Focus

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Focus, focus, focus, please focus. I find myself saying this over and over a million times a day. I know many people do not believe in ADD but I can tell you this, whatever name you want to call it, there exists a condition in which someone finds it extremely difficult to concentrate attention on just one thing. The result is devastating.

This year is particularly hard for my son. I feel like he is back in 5th grade when he couldn’t complete a thing in class. We would help him with hours and hours of homework and there was never time for anything else. This year is a repeat. The work load in 8th grade is so much greater than any other year. He completes quite a bit in class now but the amount of time it takes him to study and complete homework is affecting us all. We reach a level of frustration that is hard to overcome. I try my best not to get frustrated with him but time after time I fail. My daughter is starting to resent him because he takes up so much of our time. “Let him fail.” That’s what she says and every time I hear it I am more determined to make sure that never happens. I grit my teeth and do whatever it takes. He did much better on the medication but he didn’t like the way it made him feel. His loss of personality was the most difficult side effect for everyone. So, last January, we made the choice to take him off of it.

Sometimes I Just want to cry. I want to cry for him and how difficult it is for him to keep up. I want to cry for the free time he never has because there is always something else to do.  I want to cry for my frustration and inability to show him patience when the clock turns none-thirty at night and there is still work to do. I want to cry because I need a break too and it is no kind of life for any of us when it’s always work, work, work, aggravation and no play. The clock does not exist for someone with ADD, they can only move at one pace.

 He is so smart. I think that’s the hardest part to understand. I tested him over and over on his Spanish words last night. He just couldn’t remember them. He finally starts to get something and then his brain overheats and everything melts away. He needs breaks. Hours of work at a time is not good for someone who has difficulty concentrating. The misconception about ADD is that there is a lack of attention span. That couldn’t be more untrue. Their  focus is just divided up among several different things at once. It’s hard to channel it on one particular thing. He is listening to me, climbing under the cushions on the couch and petting the dog at the same time. I can feel my blood start to boil as I say, go and take a 15 minute break. Like it or not, those breaks are necessary but that also means me will finish 15 minutes later than we should.

I don’t have any answers. I do my best to educate everyone about how difficult this is for families as a whole. Add that to the belief that this condition is made up and the result is not receiving any support. I dread evenings now because I know what they bring. He dreads them too. My daughter resents them and I’m sure my husband wishes my mood wasn’t so affected when home should be a happy place. He is just a kid who wants to go outside after school and ride his dirt bike. I want that for him too. 

Afraid To Turn The Page

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I think it was Dr. Phil who said, you can’t heal what you don’t acknowledge. Writing is like therapy. I can feel my heart beat slower as I type the words. Blogging brings about a sense of calm that I can’t seem to find anywhere else. It’s like wringing out all my thoughts and those feelings that linger behind. If I don’t write about it, it stays there, stuck inside of me so it’s time to write.

 There are some things you can never prepare yourself for, no matter how hard you try. It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling this week. The truth is, you never think it’s going to happen. You completely deny it by blocking it out of your mind because it’s a place that is just too painful to go. I try my best not to think about what my life will be like when I can’t dial the phone and hear my moms voice on the other end. I just cannot go there. Just writing about it causes my chest to tighten and I feel like I cannot breathe. I go into complete panic mode and thats where I stay.

 My mother was brought to the hospital last week. She gave us a scare that nearly broke me in half. I couldn’t write about it, I couldn’t talk about it. I had to focus on breathing in and breathing out and not let my mind go to the worst possible place. It’s been one of the hardest weeks of my life and it keeps on coming, one blow after another. There are some things medicine cannot cure. When parts of our body are damaged, we must live with what we have, the best we can. I am hoping she gets to go home tomorrow but she has a difficult road ahead of her. I am so grateful for every day I hear her voice. It’s so easy to forget how big the little things really are.

Don’t take anyone for granted. Always leave people with loving words and show them in your special way how much you care. We all know how the story ends, we just can’t predict when we will get to the last page. Be kind, love deeply and be grateful for the special people in your life.

Sometimes Being Mom Hurts 

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This is the last unfortunate story I will share about my week. I will start by saying every day is a new day and every week, a new week. What does not completely destroy us will have to make us stronger. Life gives us no other choice.

After getting some difficult news earlier in the week, I pulled myself together to go to Kayleigh’s volleyball game. That’s what parents do, no matter what they are going through on the inside, they stay strong and steady on the outside. The season is practically over and I have seen my daughter play in one game. I could see the pain on her face as she sat on that bench. She was the only girl not subbed in the entire game. Her posture said it all, defeat. She lost so much more than just the game that horrible night. I could see her fighting back the tears as I tried my best to hide my own. I can’t for the life of me figure out why this coach has been so unkind. I am so honest when it comes to my kids strengths and weaknesses and she really is just as good as any other girl on the team. She has given up so many hours of her time, sometimes going to three games a week and forced to sit there while freshman, and varsity play as well. Did I mention staying up until one in the morning to do the work she was not allowed to do at the game? Has it been worth it? Nope. Not to sit on the bench game after game trying her best to high five her teammates and put on a happy face.

She came to us after the game and told us she wanted to quit. I know there are some parents out there that are firm believers, if you start something, you should finish it. I used to feel that way too. As the years have gone by, I realize how important it is to make sure the activities and people around her build her self esteem, not rip it away. There comes a time when you say, this isn’t fair and you do deserve better, your time is important, you’re important. There comes a point when you don’t allow someone to take away what isn’t theirs to take. Shame on anyone who would purposely do this to any child. Sometimes I think people working in any capacity with kids need a thorough mental exam before we entrust them with the most precious thing in our little world. 

Volleyball meant so much to her. She was so excited to get back on the court and I was thrilled to see her follow her heart and do what she really loves. Such a shame. Needless to say, she went to practice the next day and told her coach exactly how she felt and what did her coach say? I understand you not wanting to be on the team anymore, finalizing the decision instead of having a conversation. Once again, she walks away from another sport, another coach who clearly sends the message, I don’t believe in you. You are not enough. What can I say except my heart still hurts. Two difficult lessons in the span of a week and another part of my heart broke watching her in pain. The toughest job in the world is being a mom. I am more than her mom. I am her advocate, her cheering squad, her shoulder to lean on and the one person in the world who will always be here for her, believing in her. I pray loving her will be enough. 

 

The Warrior Within

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When it seems like the sky is about to collapse, relax, that’s just the roof caving in ~ Jarod Kintz 

Isn’t it amazing how awful the mind can make things seem? I have friends that stress over the most ridiculous things and I wonder how they might ever get through something that would actually knock the wind out of their sail. I try and remind myself to put things into perspective. I acknowledge that there is something hanging over me but at the same time I try my best to count my blessings. When we find out something is wrong and I mean really devastatingly wrong, our mind can wander to a hopeless and dangerous place. It takes time for the shock to set in until you can focus less on the problem and more on finding a solution. It takes faith to  carry on the best you can while trying your best to find a way to cope. Time heals all wounds. That’s not to say that it heals them completely but it definately dulls that initial pain. 

Remember, you are so much stronger than you could ever imagine. What seems like the end of the world today isn’t the end of the world at all. It’s just a bad day or a tough break or something that touches you deeply in the worst way. You are a warrior, strong and patient, ready to conquer anything that comes your way. Warriors have the courage to stand steady and strong and the knowledge to know the sky will never really fall.

You’re Punished

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I feel really bad for my daughter tonight. She is learning the very hard lesson that when people are spiteful, they will find a way to punish you. 

Long story short, she was supposed to go to the fair with friends tomorrow. They got together and purchased the tickets a few days ago but they just assumed she would drive. Those girls know me well enough to know I would not let her drive that far with so many kids in the car. So, one girl finally agreed to drive but now my poor girl has lost her spot in the car and has been replaced by two boys. What’s worse is they are making it very difficult for her to even get her ticket from the girl who is holding them.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t just happen with teenagers. Adults use their anger to manipulate others as well. It gives them the control to be the puppet master while they are jangling around your puppet strings. 

I really hate watching her go through all these tough lessons. The saddest part of all is, we can choose to be kind or we can choose to be cruel. It’s sad to think so many choose cruel. When will we stop hurting people on purpose? When will we have more consideration for people’s feelings and less focus on being one point ahead, as if it’s a game.

Be nice. Be kind and please don’t go out of your way to punish or hurt someone. Be better. Someone has to be.