What does quitting look like?

Jaded. Frustrated. Irritated. Hopeless.

I have been feeling my fair share of these awful words.  I know that I am not the only one.  This world is tough.  As soon as you have footing you are just stable enough to slip down… a little bit higher on the climb now so the fall hurts a little worse.   My heart begs me to quit to stop trying…to just stop, suntan,  have a drink, and relax on the water somewhere….and I will, but not today not in this phase of life.

Selfish.

It burns to even type it, but it doesn’t matter.  It is selfish to sit in your own self pity and hurt.  It is selfish to not put yourself out there even though it hurts.  This life was given to us one minute at a time and a refusal to quit and live in the hurt is nothing but selfish

Perspective.

Perspective may be the most fascinating aspect of it all.  WE can all surround ourselves with soldiers that build our perspective into whatever that we choose it to be.  The perspective that we choose will become our reality.

Community. Love. Peace. Acceptance.

When I hear these words I don’t picture some suburban mom in her comfy house with a half drank cup of coffee.  But, maybe I should.  Maybe we all should.  When I think of acceptance I am going to think of someone just like me.  Someone who is jaded, frustrated, hopeless and irritated…someone who wants to quit.  If we are all being honest you know that you have been there.  The work is piling up, you are exhausted and sometimes no amount of effort can make anyone happy….I don’t know where the answers really are, but it starts with letting it all go.  It starts with making time for one another.  It starts with letting go of those things that you want so badly, but maybe just aren’t meant for you. It starts with healthy habits.  It starts with loving each other through it all.

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                                         ” I would rather be a poor writer than a rich lawyer.”                                          -Gretchen Reuben from The Happiness Project

Hmmm… I heard these words after meditating on the thought of education for a few days and thinking of what it means to be an educated person…In my case in what I needed to do to create educated people too.  Gretchen’s words have rattled in my brain for a few more day before it came together for me.  Hold on tight…I will make a full circle of strange connections that could loosely support my perspective on this subject…I hope it leaves you with something to ponder and if you are an educator with a little bit of hope.

This all started for me as the new school year approached.  The stress of tiny name tags and perfect dismissal list that keep  the well oiled machine of an elementary school running.  These are the details that can sometimes get under my skin with the amount of energy that it take to fuel the place that all learning should occur.

Why do I feel like a better person when the sun is on my shoulders and my feet are connected to the earth? Why does that feel more meaningful than labels and schedules?  Perhaps, my ancestors were gypsies…maybe it’s The Cherokee blood in my veins….It just makes me feel like we are missing it in schools.  We do so much well, but it takes a lot of time.  I have always wondered why do I have this desire to write..I am not particularly skilled.  I don’t think my opinions are invaluable, but yet here I sit sharing my voice.

I am beginning to understand that most of this life is just a distraction from the few things that matter.  Well the problem with that theory is that I value learning so where does that fit in the free for all agenda that I have in my mind?!?

I think I have found the answer in Maya Angelo’s writings that my sixth grade teacher shoved in my brain as a sixth grader…If every single repressed society was not allowed to read and write then it must have meaning it must be important.  We must learn to express our thoughts and we must share them.. We can hate the bloggers as much as we want and disagree with them as much as we want, but they are using their education for what it is meant to be used for…to think…to share…to read…what is it all for if you can’t take a minute to be introspective and to think, to share your thoughts in some way.  It has value…more value than we can ever know.

I guess what I am saying is don’t feel bad for sharing that insta pic of your lunch…don’t feel bad for that facebook post…yes, it was a bit on the crybaby side and yes we rolled our eyes, but hey it was your truth and you shared it…you are growing….we must all keep growing…keep collecting thoughts and keep sharing any way that you can express yourself.  If nothing else it will give others the self righteous moment of knowing everything.  In the words of my other favorite, poet, Jack Johnson everybody thinks that everybody knows everything about everybody else….

What we didn’t know

 

 

 

What is it about traveling back to a place in time that can change your perspective completely? The taste of food that you haven’t had in a decade from your favorite spot?  The way that your car can comfortable turn down familiar roads that you once traveled even though everything looks differently now?  The memories of a first date or the sighting of the last place that you were with your first love…Thinking about who you were before life moved in.

Multiple times this weekend I would glance over at my husband and I would see that kid that captured my heart all of those years ago…replaced by a man with a few more battle scars.  Even more I can see our son grow up and become his dad in his nonchalant movements, quiet confidence and his unexpected funny ways.  Justin and I spent lots of time at Baum Stadium talking while we watched baseball games.

Ironically enough it was baseball that brought us right back down memory lane.  Watching Maddex this weekend brought tears to my eyes several times as the realization of the quiet battles that Maddex has fought with himself have paid off.  Maddex was born with a ruptured blood vessel in his eye that caused him to be legally blind in his right eye.  I will never forget the first time that we patched his strong eye.  It was a sunny day…all was normal…I knew that he had some difficulty, but I had no idea of the severity of it until we put that patch on…he walked right into the parked truck!!!  We have patched since that day and it has gotten a bit easier, but really we are only fighting a cosmetic issue; his eye will never heal.  He will always be legally blind in his right eye.   I don’t think I really ever let myself feel the difficulty. I didn’t let myself feel the enormity that came with his diagnosis.  We just kept on going.  Maddex is able to play third base.  This is the perfect spot for him because the ball comes so fast that you rely on your reactions to catch the ball, but he has also caught his fair share of pop fly balls…he shouldn’t be able to do this.  Pitching has become a love of his and hitting an enemy.  He still steps up to bat and more often than not finds a way to get on base….

As I sat in the town that formed our family I watched him play.  I watched my husband coach and I thought about our life.  I thought about the year that we have endured and how much Justin and I have changed since our time in Fayetteville.  We were both lost when we bumped into each other.  In some ways it has seemed forced as I look back, but when I return I remember that it was the most natural thing that there ever was.  It was like a quick Aha moment of yes, this is the only person in the world that sees this world the way that I do….despite the scars that we each had on our hearts that have taken over a decade to figure out and to find some way to repair or at least to stop the bleeding.  Over the years we have worked so hard.

We have had happiness, but also some darkness…the last year has had so much darkness that I didn’t know up from down and it felt like it was time to stop forcing what would never fit.  I came dangerously close to walking away.  Nothing seemed to add up.  The more that I tried the more bizarre that it became. I found myself very angry, bitter and honestly just lost.  I was grasping for something that would make sense…nothing did.  Church made me feel confident only to lead to a feeling of defeat Sunday evening followed by anger and irritation.  I clung so tightly to the positive things in my life and tried to be patient on the things that I couldn’t change.  Life is funny in these moments….I feel like I grew up. I feel like I began to really understand other people’s journeys…some of them I have gained so much respect for and others I have lost respect for.  I began to use the ugliest and darkest colors to paint a picture of my husband. I began to believe that actions defined who he was.  Those long and slow days of our past were lost under the rubble of the mess that we were in.  I left no room for him to remind me.

When we first met it was like we dove into this world of happiness of living for who we really were then the real world crashed in fast and that safe cocoon began to disappear and we began to see one another for who this new life had made us into.  I began to see him as a person who was incapable for working for someone else.  Not as the creative guy that I fell in love with that bucked the norms of society because you saw a better way.  I look at our life and the things that we are able to do and I feel thankful to him.  I also feel sorry that I have tried to squash that fire because I felt like it was the responsible thing to do.  He has  provided well for us, allowed us to help others and have been crazy enough to live in the moment with all of my crazy ideas.  I have let my insecurities shape who I felt like you should become and I hate that I have done that to you.  There is still frustration, but I am starting to understand them more.

Sometimes it just takes standing up at the plate and trying.  Life is life, your circumstances are your circumstances.  You can choose to let them define you or you can do like Maddex has and figure out the best position for yourself.  Control it when you can and adapt when you can’t control what is happening around you.  There will always be parts of life that you aren’t great at, but the key is to be strong in the other areas.

I have an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness to all of the people who have helped us through the biggest misstep that we have had.  For some strange reason it feels therapeutic to share it with those who care or those who are drawn to read….some will read to have a good piece of something to talk about…for you I hope it opens a conversation that helps you with your struggles…some will relate…for you I pray that you beg God to put a circle of people that you can trust around you so that you can have help to close the door on a difficult chapter….Some will make fun of the fact that I share so much, and that is really okay…I believe that we are each sent on these journeys to help the next one behind us.  I once heard a story about a wife who screenshot a picture of Justin and me to her husband asking why they couldn’t be happy like us….If I posted it it was real we were probably very happy in that moment, but I also have a responsibility to be honest about all of the other unhappy/tough times.  Everyone else…thank you for just supporting my millenial habit of feeling like everything that happens to me needs to be documented in some way.  I guess it’s a symptom of the culture.

 

 

 

The Tilt

What is it about traveling back to a place in time that can change your perspective completely? The taste of food that you haven’t had in a decade from your favorite spot?  The way that your car can comfortable turn down familiar roads that you once traveled even though everything looks differently now?  The memories of a first date or the sighting of the last place that you were with your first love…

Multiple times this weekend I would glance over at my husband and I would see that kid that captured my heart all of those years ago…replaced by a man with a few more battle scars.  Even more I can see our son grow up and become his dad in his nonchalant movements and his unexpected funny ways. We have had a few missteps, but together we have done a lot right too.

We were both lost when we bumped into each other.  In some ways it has seemed forced as I look back, but when I return I remember that it was the most natural thing that there ever was.  It was like a quick Aha moment of yes, this is the only person in the world that sees this world the way that I do….despite the scars that we each had on our hearts that have taken over a decade to figure out and to find some way to repair or at least to stop the bleeding.  Over the years we have worked so hard.  We have had happiness, but also some darkness…the last year has had so much darkness that I didn’t know up from down and it felt like it was time to stop forcing what would never fit.  I came dangerously close to walking away.  Nothing seemed to add up.  The more that I tried the more bizarre that it became. I found myself very angry, bitter and honestly just lost.  I was grasping for something that would make sense…nothing did.  Church made me feel confident only to lead to a feeling of defeat Sunday evening followed by anger and irritation.  I clung so tightly to the positive things in my life and tried to be patient on the things that I couldn’t change.  Life is funny in these moments….I feel like I grew up. I feel like I began to really understand other people’s journeys…some of them I have gained so much respect for and others I have lost respect for.  I began to use the ugliest and darkest colors to paint a picture of my husband. I began to believe that actions defined who he was.  Those long and slow days of our past were lost under the rubble of the mess that we were in.  I left no room for him to remind me.  When we first met it was like we dove into this world of happiness of living for who we really were then the real world crashed in fast and that safe cocoon began to disappear and we began to see one another for who this new life has made us into.  I began to see him as a person who was incapable for working for someone else.  Not as the creative guy that I fell in love with that bucked the norms of society because you saw a better way.  I look at our life and the things that we are able to do and I feel thankful to you.  I also feel sorry that I have tried to squash that fire because I felt like it was the responsible thing to do.  You have always provided well for us, allowed us to help others and have been crazy enough to live in the moment with all of my crazy ideas.  I have let my insecurities shape who I felt like you should become and I hate that I have done that to you.  There is still frustration with some of your choices, but I am starting to understand them more.

When we promise to love someone we promise to remember and love the best parts of them,  We promise to see the pieces that make them who they are.  To assume the best.  I promise you that marriage will let each of us down in the biggest of ways.  There are still hurts that can not be forgotten.  However, when someone sits across from you and promises to try you have the best gift that there is.

I feel like there has been a tilt.

My favorite movie quote is from the movie Blow….. well my top two favorite movie quotes are from Blow.  One is the reason why I chose teaching and the other has replayed in my head in good times and in bad.

The teaching one is when George’s Dad tells him that he would have been good at whatever he would have chosen to do after George tries to explain that he chose to deal drugs because he was good at it.  “I’m really great at what I do, Dad. I mean I’m really great at what I do.”  I won’t step on that soapbox right now, but kids are talented and gifted and will be good at what is right in front of them…we need to be very careful about what we place there.  The second thought, more relevant, is “Sometimes you’re flush and sometimes you’re bust, and when you’re up, it’s never as good as it seems, and when you’re down, you never think you’ll be up again, but life goes on.”  This is basically the point to my ramblings.  Life goes on.  It isn’t all about you and the moment that you are tangled up in.  Hang on. Let it be and at the end of the day expect more from yourself and forgive those around you.  Make them work for it a little, but forgive them. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The problem with Integrity…

It probably all started with some 90’s PSA while I waited to find out if Zach Morris would marry Kelly Kapowski….Integrity.  When I was a kid My Mom would piece apart so many situations with me and we would talk about it from every angle.  Understanding right from wrong has always been pretty easy for me.  I love to live in the gray, but when it comes to doing the right thing I have been a black/white thinker.  The truth always seems to play a role in these decisions….not the version of the truth that is easy to accept, but the actual truth. I feel like I have had no problem fighting for it.  It was easy to fight because I believed that we lived in this imperfect suppressed society of people that also wanted justice and for goodness to win, but for whatever reason could not muster up the strength to rise above the bureaucracy. I felt like integrity is where we could all find solid ground after the long dark day.  We all wanted what was best…our perspectives just may have made that look different. Believers. Nonbelievers. Politicians. Teachers. Parents. Elderly. Young. We are all imperfect and full of mistakes, but we all at least were trying to do what was right….right?  right?!? ummmmm….

in·teg·ri·ty
noun  the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
I teach Kindergarten and I sum it up as: Doing the right thing even when nobody tells you to or when nobody is looking.  They seem to get the idea. I used to really get the idea, but now I am beginning to see some big flaws with this easy concept.
I walk past a piece of trash.  The trash doesn’t belong to me.  I can make the choice to pick it up anyway for the greater good.  Forgive the person who threw the trash down and continue to walk or I can get involved…lean over (adjust my mom jeans) and pick up the gooey, yucky, nasty trash…walk to the trashcan and clean it up without resentment or without expecting repetition.  
I have always been compelled to do what I know is best, so for me picking up the trash was easy.  Anybody would do it right?!   It was the very least that I could do. 
As I enter my mid 30’s and sit on top of a difficult year…on top of a difficult year …on top of a year that I just thought was difficult.  I am starting to understand exactly what the problem with having integrity is.  It isn’t popular.  It isn’t convenient.  It isn’t easy….. It is usually misunderstood.
When did the shift happen?  Did it happen generations ago and I am just wise enough to see it now?  Did it start with Adam and Eve? Did it start after Nixon lied? September 11th? Or, did our culture just recently take a nose dive and I am sitting front row with everyone else? Is this just my millennial moment when I realize that everyone has a freaking horrible life…it’s not just me who had a bad day because my straightner quit working?!
I feel like it may be easier to create an alternate universe where we create a version of the situation and then respond to the environment around us rather than to truly respond to what is right and just.  Instead of truly owning the imperfection of the situation and correcting it.  I think it happens so often to all of us that we may not even realize it.  The trash probably has germs on it.  It is better for my health and my children if I don’t touch something that could harm us.  Perhaps, this is true.  Perhaps, I am still too naive to understand how important walking away is.
So, I guess the real problem with integrity is that it’s actually more about what you do when everyone is watching, because the fish are mostly swimming in the opposite direction  and it would be a lot easier to just give in and join them.  It isn’t easy to stay in a Pollyanna state of mind especially after life keeps spitting on you.  We need the younger generation to carry us because the older I get the weaker I get.  The more gray it all begins to look and frankly I am in more of a position to create change, but I don’t have the naive confidence that I once did, because even though deep down I know that it is the right thing to do I question myself…others question…it isn’t easy at all; in fact I feel down right exhausted.  I feel older. I have wrinkles and dark circles.  There seem to be a lot of good reasons to not do what I know is right.  There seems to be a majority that goes along with what they know is wrong, because it is easier to stomach.
I feel like I am constantly caught in a string of thinking that contradicts itself…. Not only am I conflicted, but now I have this enormous choice; I can instill integrity into my children resulting in a life that will leave them feeling lonely.  Or, I can give them a life of ease as I teach them to follow culture.  I can even stay a “christian” through this as I turn my head and just pretend like prayer alone without works will compel them to do the right thing…after all I am only human and this is hard.  I have been wrong before…what if I’m wrong now.  Maybe I am being too dramatic.  After all, it is just a piece of trash….  A small piece of truth here and there.  It will get cleaned up, right? It is way too inconvenient for anybody else to be worried with it….why should I be? Even worse….what if the person that is throwing the trash down gets their feelings hurt?  Can I really go against their beliefs?! They did put it there for a reason…didn’t they?
I just can’t walk away from it….one lie turns into another and before we know it we are living in a world filled with trash and lies…I have to put in the work.  I have to deal with it.  I have to leave a legacy that rest on trying my best and trying to do what is honest.  The problem is there is a lot of judgement when you decide to pick up trash for a living.

The further that I divefall….stumble in …seek for The Lord’s presence and understanding the more confused I can become.  As I become more enlightened the understandings and truths that I once held on to begin to fade.  I also feel a strange understanding and calmness wash over me drizzled with fear as I realize how this whole short life really is preparation for what comes next; that is a big, scary and reassuring thought all at once.   The newest lesson that I have learned is that if you beg God for an answer, if you cry out for help He will be there.  It will not be the way that you expect.  I have asked for God to  intervene in a certain situation for a very long time.

It came fast and slow all at once….I wasn’t even searching for the answer when it came to me.  The source of a lot of the hurt that I have felt is me.  It’s me.  This whole time I thought it was spinning and outside of my control.  I have been consumed in the reaction of another when it was really my action that set the stage.  I was sitting on the couch, listening to the rain fall, watching TV as the truth slowly crawled all over me. It was a very normal moment and bizarre all at once.   It was me all along…well not really me, but the 19 year old version of me.  I don’t want to be accountable for these actions and I don’t want to believe that they are mine, but they were/are.  It is impossible to move on without acknowledging the pain that they have caused for someone that I love.  I wish that I could change the past but I know that is impossible..I almost wish that I didn’t realize this hurt…I wish that I could erase it and go back to blaming…I want to remove myself from the equation and just focus on the hurt that I have…not that I have caused….I feel joy rush in…. I have solved the rubix cube of  the last 10 years, but that is immediately flooded by embarrassment and an ache for going back in time that I cannot even explain.  I also feel a slight irritation if I am being honest.  I have worked, and I have searched…I really thought it would be the other way around.  I thought He would have this moment of reckoning, but it wasn’t my husband that did…it was me.  Me, the good one.  HOW COME I  HAVE TO FEEL ALL OF THE GUILT?  How could it possible be my fault?  That is the other odd part…it doesn’t feel much like guilt…it feels more like understanding…it feels more like sadness for the him and how I changed his heart.  It also feels alot like hope.

Our God is an awesome God…I’m sure He is, but He also is awesome at coming straight from left field.  God will open your eyes to things that you may have thought you looked at already.  He will make a way in your heart for you to create change, but it isn’t easy.  It is only through accountability and responsibility and those hurt your heart, because as humans and people we suck.  We blind ourselves with perception and bury the ugly and the dirty with good works, but they still sit their under the pile…they must be dealt with.  This is where God has been especially tricky….No matter how many times I cried out for help…for eyes that saw what he sees or a heart that breaks like his (side note: Does God have a heart?) I wasn’t ready.  I just wasn’t.  It took a lot of work and experience to get myself to the couch on that Sunday morning watching TV, thinking about nothing, when the truth fell in like a ton of bricks on me and I realized my mistake.

I’m really beginning to grasp this imperfect thing.

It isn’t that my partner is obsessed with baseball and that’s irritating or that I don’t clean the iron skillet correctly…It is so much bigger than that.  Imperfection isn’t that we all suck and should just give up trying to be shiny pennies…it’s more like we weren’t ever capable of even being  able to understand what perfection looks like.  We are all more like the patina that grows on the copper after it has been weathered. We are the elements that exist only because we have been thrown around in the perfect storm and only because there is a shiny penny holding the whole thing together….and we clung to it.

I am only human and of course I have been searching for what to do know that I am privy to the obvious.  I know the answer.  I know how to fix it.   It is love. It is what I must give, protect and guard.  Maybe love is the element that protects us as we become weathered and as those around us become weathered….maybe even before.  It is just love.  Loving in our imperfection and loving to cover their imperfections.  Agape has been a focus word in my mind for years and now as I write this I understand why He whispered it to me over and over again.  

 

Talk about feeling humble.  I still don’t understand God and I accept that I never will truly know all about Him or understand every word in The Bible, but I can never deny that when I call out for Him that He is there….not immediately and not how I would picture, but nonetheless he is there…. Much bigger and deeper and I must admit more tricky than I would ever expect.  It is almost as if the wind whispers little pieces that only seem to make sense when put together with situations that haven’t even occured yet.

My main thought… God is there even when we feel like He isn’t and when we pray for change it will happen, but surprisingly enough it is actually our perspective that changes…everything else sits as it always has.

Holding Space

On May 1 My Mom became very sick.  It started with a typical infection that was treated with a cocktail of antibiotics which led to acute liver damage.  My initial reaction was to use humor to deal….then, with the end of the school year approaching, I used my super power of hyper focus to push through the end of the year to ensure that my children and students finished strong….when the humor dried up and the schedule freed up she still wasn’t better…she was worse.  There still were not clear answers.  I stayed with her in the hospital a few nights, but I still didn’t feel the situation.  I focused on what I could do because I like to do, I like to be useful and I like to remedy a situation.  I communicated with family and I took impeccable notes from the doctor.

I…I….I….   I tried… I did….  I wanted to… I asked… I kept myself at an arm’s reach of the situation.  Finally, I prayed.  It felt awkward sometimes and forced.  And, it wasn’t because I wanted to it was because SHE asked me to.  I thought I was helping her, but you see this all came at a difficult time for me in life and even though I thought I was the one helping her I was so focused on myself that I didn’t see that once again she was helping me.

My Mom is one of the most fascinating people I have ever met…she accepts people and can deliver shocks of disappointment that stay with you for ever.  She doesn’t seem powerful at a petite 5’2” and often times strangers stop and tell her their life story because she makes them feel so comfortable.  I’ve always felt privileged to be her daughter because she throws a life lesson at you in the parking lot over a parking spot.  She has taught me to value the undervalued.  To smile and give in the difficult time. That nothing is permanent. That everyone is fighting a battle. That the truth is the most important.  That unconditional love never gives up. That you show up even when it isn’t convenient. That you protect people.  She does all of this in the most humble of ways. I have seen her speak and entertain Generals and their wives, throw together the most beautiful Coffee’s and Hail and Farewells, be there for the young wife who is struggling to be married to a soldier; she is incredible in her efficiency, kindness, and comfort.   I know that when she reads this that she will not agree, but when people who know her read it that will.  She has no idea of her power…which is endearing and frustrating all at once. She tells me that she believes in me and that she is proud of me….even when I feel like a big fat failure or unsure of my steps.  Her favorite line is “Well I don’t know pray about it…what does God want you to do.”  To hear her tell this story she would say that I have done so much for her, that I have been there for her and helped her.  She would build me up so tall that you would think that I found a cure.  That’s what she does..  That’s how she is. It is also untrue.  I’ve untwisted a few Powerade lids and learned to cook cabbage.  (It’s much better in the oven than in boiling water.)  But, not much more.

For traveling purposes, she has stayed with me for the past ten days.  As God has shown me in the last couple of years His purpose is so much greater and different than our purpose.  She hasn’t been able to do much.  No pedicures, no shopping at The Flea Market, zero decorating, she won’t go for a massage, no long talks, none of that.  She has really been a bit of a blob….she doesn’t feel well enough to do anything.  Sitting still is not my strength.  Not solving problems isn’t my strength.  It has been torture and frustrating to just watch her sit, rest and lose weight.  I’ve read and read and thought up ideas that may make her feel better.  Then, I came across an article called Holding Space.  It is about just being there for someone you love without judgment or pushing. (Not my strong suits either)  Okay! Now I had something to do….I would just be there.  Between, my work and family obligations I haven’t been next to her as much as my heart desires, but I have been here.  We Netflixed and chilled on the show Parenthood, we sat outside…we did all of the same things from the last 9 days but I softened my pushing.  I felt good about my approach.

Then, last night it hit me.   I am not her holding space.  She is mine.

In this part of my life I have struggled a bit.  As most of us do in raising kids, working and keeping a marriage and multiple businesses together. There isn’t a magic wand to fix anything.  It isn’t so terrible at all.  I feel very blessed and lucky.  I am just being real though….life is hard.  Once again, without fail My Mom has been here for me.  Asking me in the morning to read the devotional, asking me to pray for her, encouraging me, speaking life into my confidence.  I don’t know how she does it, but she always does.  She always makes my life better and makes me stronger.  Even when she is sick.  Even when she is scared.  Even when she is orange. (Sorry, I had too…)

Life just flat out sucks sometimes.  Life doesn’t make sense at all.  I don’t understand so much.  But, I do know that the love that I have from my mom is a gift and a beautiful model to follow.  I am so thankful for her help over the last 10 days, for her wisdom and for her just being here as a holding space for me.  Thank you, Mom, for this season.  I type this through tears of guilt because you have no idea how much you do and how much I love you.

The next time I write about you I want it to be chronicling our girls trip to anywhere.  I love you. You are stronger than you know.