I don’t regret my tattoo.

Several years ago, after many years of discussions and sketches, my sweet husband took me to get my first, and only, tattoo. To say it was a big deal, is an understatement.

Even though I had friends with tattoos, and family with tattoos, there was something very taboo about me getting a tattoo. I knew people would be disappointed in me. I knew there would be people I would feel the need to hide it from. If it was going to cause that much grief, I wanted to make sure it was worth it. It had to mean something to me, something deep.

At the time, I was struggling with the idea that I was in fact a writer. Calling myself a writer, an author, sounded a little too real. It took me beyond just someone who happened to put words into sentences and let people read it. It implied I had a skill and that I used that skill intentionally to reach out and impact others. I wanted to believe I was a writer. I wanted to be confident in telling others, I am an author.

Part of my tattoo is a quill.

The other part, is a simple word, in one of my favorite fonts. It simply says, “Anyway”.

To explain the word, I generally point to the poem that Mother Teresa had on the wall of her children’s home. It’s titled The Paradoxical Commandments, written by Kent M. Keith in 1968.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

It is so much more than that.

If you think you can’t play Barbies, play anyway.

If you think you can’t play Army Men, play anyway.

If you think you can’t learn something new, learn it anyway.

If you want to sing, but think you’re not good enough, sing anyway.

If you think you have something to share with the world, but no one wants to read it, write it anyway.

If they have given you absolutely no reason to love them, or even like them,

If they have brought you pain, and hurt, and to the point of anger,

If they have no clue the damage they caused, or are currently causing,

draw a line, create a boundary, protect yourself…but love them, forgive them, anyway.

 

For a while, tattoos were becoming popular and accepted in society. Employers don’t always make you cover them up. Few look down on others because of tattoos. Yet, I am seeing a trend returning where tattoos are being frowned upon, and I’ve read articles shaming those who get them.

I do not regret my tattoo. I won’t be ashamed of it. It has opened the door for me to share the story of love and forgiveness that I have received from Jesus. It has allowed me opportunities to explain how I manage to love and forgive despite how little I might feel the offending person deserves it. It has helped me to fully own the title of “writer”.

I write. I play. I try. I sing. I love. I forgive. Anyway.

Twenty Years

The connection was cosmic. It was as though God had specifically designed us for each other. Maybe He did. We loved every bit of each other, and accepted each other’s imperfections.
My baggage we more obvious than yours. I carried it proudly on my back like an over prepared hiker headed for a long journey. You tried to carry it for me, I was stingy. You offered to help me let go of the unnecessary, I insisted I needed it. You patiently waited, walked beside me while I whined about how heavy my load was, and allowed me to decide when to put it down.
Children were born. We found ourselves blind and wandering in a land between what we were told to be and what we felt we were created to be. We made mistakes with our kids and with our friends and with each other. We learned forgiveness. We experienced grace. We begin to practice mercy.
Twenty years have passed. We sit on the front porch, coffee in hand, and watch the fog roll away off the fields as the sun rises. We turned our lives upside down, traded it all in for a new life in an old place. A place where we could start again, a ‘take-two’ on the scene, where we live loyal to our God and His plan.
 
{This post is a participation in Daily Post’s daily prompt. Today’s prompt can be found hereIn keeping with my goal of writing 15 minutes each day, I have only allowed myself 15 minutes of free writing. }
 

The One Thing I Know About Life

{I decided this week that I wanted to try and devote 15 minutes each day to writing. I posted a request on my Facebook Page, asking for writing prompts. My friend Sherrin suggested this post. 15 minutes…and go…}
The one thing I know about life is that I am worthy. I am worthy of a life, a good life, a happy life. I am worthy of being given a chance to care, to love, to learn, to try, to take on challenges and fail, and to take on challenges and succeed. I don’t deserve anything, but I am worthy of the opportunity to work hard and move forward.
I spent years of my life feeling unworthy. Not good enough to be considered for the team. Not experienced enough to audition for the part. Not naturally talented enough to try a new skill or learn a new thing.
My God designed me, personally, and created me, and He has a plan for me and HE has determined that I am worthy of this life and so He gave me this life and I have His full permission to live and grow and love this life to my fullest ability. I am not worthy of His forgiveness when I falter and succumb to selfish desire or self doubt or anger. He knew I would never be worthy of that, so He sent His Son. Through His Son, Jesus Christ, I am gifted forgiveness.
Guess what?
He made you, too. He designed you, created you, put you on Earth as a living, breathing child of God, and He knows you are worthy, too.
Go out, my friends, and live knowing you are worthy of the life force you have been given. Learn, grow, try something new, change, care for others, set boundaries with some, love all and accept their love in return. Because, you are worth it.

We now enter side effect land.

Last week the doctor FINALLY got back to me and called me in some medicine. I won’t name the names for fear of inviting the Sir Spam-a-lot Bots to blast my comments with offers; let’s just say I have two for anxiety and they work nicely.
One of them is one you take every day and they say it takes a month or longer to start working. Bull hockey. Maybe to take full effect but I’ve never had any med not have an effect right away. We’re not quite a week into this new process and while I feel better, my house looks better and my kids seem happier. I have also started feeling the side effects. History shows that if there is a bizarre side effect I will have it. It never fails. I am prepared this time. I did my research. I know what might be coming and I also know that if I hang in there it might pass.
I’m slower. Not slow, just slower. Mostly because I was running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off multitasking like a maniac and doing a crappy job over all. Now, I’m doing one thing at a time. Breathing. Making progress. Slowly.
I’m yawning. A LOT. If you’re visiting with me and I can’t stop yawning please don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s me.
I’m nauseous.  It’s not severe. A handful of sunflower seeds seem to help but it is annoying and appears to be worse if I go outside (in the heat). Not good for my social life with my neighbors.
Food? Who needs food? My appetite is down. I barely finished my dinner and didn’t snack at all afterwards!
It will all pass, or ease up, or I’ll get used to it. Because none of it is so bad that it would make me choose to go back to growling all day.
I have spent four days creating a school room, playing on the floor, rolling balls, dancing, laughing, tickling, reading, coloring, and loving. I missed it and I am blessed that I have friends who supported me in my effort to get help.
And, thank you God for sending Dr. M my way…. while we hit a little bump in our road together, he took HOURS to talk to me before prescribing something, and taking time to get it right.
 

Take a knee. Or two.

Today sucks. Little sleep, cranky baby, whiny toddler. The drama started before I could finish my coffee and it wasn’t even new drama it was the same stuff from the day before and the day before and the…  well, you get the picture.
My mind is bogged down. I feel heavy. I want to fix things, heal things, clean things, organize things. I want to dance and sew and play and teach and be good and smart and funny.
All I could do was growl from the couch.
So I sent the kids outside. All of them. Even the baby.
And I took a knee.
I took two actually, in front of my couch. I laid my head in my hands on the cushion.
I cried. I stayed quiet for a while. I knew God could see what was in my heart, even if I had no words.
I prayed for everyone I could think of that had been asking/seeking/needing prayer. I left their needs at His feet.
I prayed for everyone else I could think of just because a little prayer love never hurt. I left their unspoken needs at His feet.
My laundry isn’t done. Dinner is only half ready. The kids are fighting over who gets to pull the baby in the wagon.
But I feel lighter. My to do list isn’t any shorter, but I don’t feel like I’m drowning anymore.
So I guess I’ll go make lunch, and move the clothes to the dryer. I’ll fold laundry and watch Team Umizoomi with Bubbagirl until she falls asleep. Then I’ll help Doodlebug pick out something pretty to wear for her violin recital.
I’m not equipped, physically, emotionally or intellectually to help fix everything for everyone around me. The best I can do is take a knee, or two, and leave at His feet. The feet of the One.
 

Taking the leap..again

If you have been a reader of my blog for any length of time you have probably noticed that I jump around, a lot.
I can be extremely gung ho about homeschool revamps one day then be all about cleaning my house the next.
I will admit I am easily distracted by shiny things, flashy lights, sale signs and kids with high pitched squeals or baby fat. I’ve been this way most of my life just not to this extreme. So far, I’ve blamed the kids. The more I have – the more easily distracted I become. Maybe it’s sleep deprivation. Maybe it is something else entirely.
My mom has recently had her ADHD diagnosis reconfirmed. She wanted an unbiased doctor that specialized in evaluations for ALL things (not just ADHD) to do the testing. Smart woman, as he carefully explained in the end how she had been misdiagnosed on a couple of other things! **Totally irks me that doctors would treat her for years for something she didn’t have just because a doctor who specializes in ONE disorder couldn’t step back and see anything other than the one or two symptoms of THAT ONE disorder, ignoring the signs that said “that’s not it”**
Treatment underway, she is now doing great and feeling much better!
I have always been torn between did I inherit it and did I just copy her behavior. This is not the first time I have felt this stressed and desperate about it. Six years ago, I asked for an evaluation. I received my referral and made my appointment. Two weeks before my appointment, Mr. and I had the most horrible moment in our marriage. Words were said that crushed me and it took a LONG time for me to let them go and forgive him. What made it even harder, was walking out of the “results” appointment being told- “There is nothing wrong with you. People would KILL for a profile like yours. You just need to get up off your butt and do what you need to do.”
Yes folks, I paid $300 for that.
The “ADHD” test that was given to me was c.r.a.p.
It was paired with an IQ test.
There was no sit down conversation or question answer session.
No one asked my family to fill out a questionnaire.
My mom has been asking me to get reevaluated. I hate doctors. I hate that I have to find a new doctor (I don’t have one in this town yet), I have to pay $25 to go see him – explain my story- and get a referral, then go pay $50 to MEET another one. I hate that IF they find anything at all I may have to choose between nursing Peanut and being medicated. I hate that IF there is something that could have been helped sooner that I would have wasted all this time struggling and all the impact it has had on my kids.
I hate that they could tell me, once again, that I am just fine. Perfect mental profile. You just need to get off your butt.
On Tuesday, I took our daughter to get a referral because in my gut I just know something is not right. I just instinctively feel that her life right now is more difficult and stressful to her than it needs to be; all I need are the tools to help her.
I bet that’s how my mom feels. She just knows in her gut something is not right and if someone would take the time to listen that it could get better for me.
After Peanut’s first birthday I have an appointment to see the local family doc. Seems the one my husband goes to, the one that I saw one time for a really bad cold, is retiring. I get to meet someone completely new. I will be grateful for health insurance and that all I have to pay is the $25. I will pray for his wisdom and kindness. I will try to imagine that God took Dr. Wolfe away so that I could meet Dr. Martinez because Dr. Martinez is going to be awesome and I will LOVE him (as a doctor!). I will pray that should there be something that needs treatment in the form of medication that Peanut, who loves his cup and eating off of my plate, will decide that he’s a big boy that doesn’t need mommy’s milk anymore – all by himself – so I don’t have to choose.
I’m going to try, one more time, for answers.

Maybe it's not all me

Yesterday I took Doodlebug in to see her doctor. He is sending us to JMU (the university) for a full evaluation. I am scared. I am relieved. I am blessed that one of my online friends noticed my concern and frustration. She shared her story and inspired me to just go ask.
Doodlebug is an amazing and wonderful girl. Her little quirks made us laugh. Her clumsiness. Her adorable inability to look you in the eye when she was talking. The cute way she would cry out “but that’s JUST NOT FAIR” over everything.
Somewhere I was failing her. She seemed unaware that she interrupted I constantly. She could generate a bad attitude in a heartbeat. She has an amazing desire to help (even wants to be a doctor when she grows up) but at the same time she totally ignores you when you say “Hey, that is hurting me” if not hurting you would mean she had to stop what she was doing. We can’t get past the basics of math. Her handwriting is… terrible. Even eating at the table is a mess with her.
The thought had crossed my mind before. The “what if it’s not all me” thought. The “hmmm, I wonder if there might be some reason, other than crappy parenting, that would explain some of her general difficulty with life”.
She didn’t fit any of the profiles for anything I had ever heard of before. Every checklist I was ever asked to fill out at the pediatrician’s office showed a perfectly perfect kid. Everyone saw her quirks. No one questioned them. Some family even said they didn’t see them – ever.
I am not a perfect mom. I AM a good mom. Even though we’ve had a couple of easy “baby years” in our home school I AM a good teacher. I have lots of room to grow and things to learn and places to improve. I’m a good mom because I realize all these things and I keep searching and praying and reading and changing to try and be better. Despite all of this effort, my oldest daughter still seems frustrated and lost most of the time.
Yesterday the doctor said words that elated me and saddened me. He said that I might be on to something. He agreed that the situation warranted evaluation. He said that I might be right.
As we carefully discussed it all, speaking in code for the benefit of the very aware nine year old in the room, we explained to Doodlebug that we were going to take her to talk to some other people. How we were going to take her to chat, play, and take a few tests to see if maybe they could tell mommy a better way to teach her in school.  It could take months to get the evaluation completed. In the meantime, I’m reading and googling and seeking advice from other moms to see what I can change in our day to day family routine that might help Doodlebug. Even if her evaluation shows to issues there is still something in her life that is making things difficult and I need to fix that.
At least now I know there is a chance it’s not just me.
****************
I am keeping an open mind regarding a diagnosis. I am not seeking a “disorder specific” doctor as I want someone to evaluate her overall and come to their own conclusions. I do have an idea on what might be the problem. It’s called a Non-Verbal Learning Disability.
Here are a few links that explain:
http://www.learningdisabilitiesinfo.com/nonverbal.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonverbal_learning_disorder
http://www.ldonline.org/article/6114

Let there be cake.

I’m not sure what the heck happened to today. I woke up early, happy, and had coffee with Mr. Daddy Man. He had to leave super early for work and I wanted to see him before he left. The two year old woke up and then quickly dozed back off while laying on the couch. Even the baby woke up and then we back to sleep for me. I had almost and entire hour of pure quiet! UNHEARD OF I TELL YOU!
I had lessons ready, dishes washed, laundry going. I let them sleep in a bit. As the babies started to stir I started feeling the day was not going to be what I had planned so I prayed and told God I would give Him the day, I would do what He had planned. Not that I really have a choice, it was more like “okay I’m not going to fight you on it”.
Sitting on my couch now, with two kids asleep and two playing nicely, I can honestly say the day wasn’t that bad. I cut out pieces to two twirly skirts, I made a yummy dinner, hubby came home on time and was able to pick Doodlebug up from violin class. I got a shower all by myself. I had enough gas to get me home (on fumes!) but I made it to violin and to the post off to mail off some cutie things to two of my twitter friends and my sister.
Still, I spent most of the day feeling annoyed at everything. I gave up on school and let them play outside. The neighbor behind us is a single dad, he was trying to mow his grass and his four year old daughter wanted the girls to play. It got out of hand and I ended up fixing lunch for her too (no biggie… Ramen… ) and she started just walking in the house like she lived there. I’m not really upset. She’s FOUR. However, she walked in on my nursing Peanut. I thought she was my kid coming in so I didn’t think to cover up. I just don’t like feeling “invaded”. Apparently for the past few days I’ve been unusually sensitive to people getting near me, sounds, temperature. GAH! Everything has annoyed me.
I hate it. I can’t wrap my head around finishing anything either. I have articles to write. A book to read. A bible study to work on. I had plans to declutter, fold laundry, meal plan. I can’t even cut coupons!
****
We installed a cable box over the weekend- first time in five years that we’ve had cable or satellite.  Mr. Daddy Man returned home from work and getting Doodlebug, plopped down in the recliner and flipped through his 500 channels. My Mommy Helper pointed out that “Cake Boss” was on and I couldn’t resist asking him to watch it. I’ve never seen it before. OMG the cakes that man makes!!
Anywhoooo, after the first episode Mr. Daddy Man started talking about wanting cake. I ignored him. Then I reminded him there were brownies.
He ate the last of the brownies while he watched another episode.
We ate dinner, and he still wanted cake.
So I did what any smart deal making momma would do- I offered the man a deal.
I had my helper there entertaining the kids. I was going to shower- alone. IF the kitchen “magically” became clean before I got out of the shower then I would make cake. That meant unloading the dishwasher- and reloading. That meant finishing feeding the kids and putting away leftovers.
We had cake for desert. Just sayin’.
 

Uh, you forgot a couple things

**another one for my children**
There are moments in your Christian walk when you will feel so overwhelmingly filled with the Holy Spirit. You cup will runneth over and then run over again. Your excitement will be obvious and some might even say you shine a bit brighter.

Matthew 5:6-8 (New King James Version)
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.

Your enthusiasm for sharing your faith and saving power of Jesus Christ will be evident in every conversation you share. Maybe you are a new believer. Maybe you finished a Bible Study at church that renewed and refreshed you.  Whatever happened, the warm full feeling of igniting the fire between yourself and God is an amazing sensation that should be shared with everyone you meet.

When you go and start sharing and talking and quoting please remember these two words:
Grace and Mercy
Yes, you should be telling people of the Saving Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. No, you do NOT need to be in their face telling them daily that they are going to hell. They heard you the first time.
Yes, when asked for your advice on a subject you should share how your faith helped you through a similar time of trouble. No, you should not harp on and on and on and on about how “if you’d just go to church and pray and *insert long tiresome list of things*” then it would all get better. It doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes they are going through a trial that God planned on them going through. Sometimes the outcome HE has planned isn’t as simple as getting their body in a church. Sometimes it is much bigger than that and when you fail to share God’s Word and His Love with Grace and Mercy and instead you preach it from a judgment seat you serve no purpose but to waste your breath.

Psalm 119:105 (New King James Version)
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

If God is the light upon your path, shouldn’t you be the light for someone else? A street light, not an interrogation lamp.