Manners

Ohhhhhh here we go friends! I’m gonna unleash my feelings just a little bit about manners. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word manners? Do you picture yourself at the dinner table with your napkin in your lap, no elbows on the table, and you let your host or whomever cooked the meal have the first bite?

Or do you picture well mannered, circa 1950’s doll- like children with their petticoats, little white gloves, Maryjanes, and clutch purse standing sweetly posing for the picture taken after church on a Sunday?

Better yet, do you hear “yes ma’am, no ma’am, please and thank you” when you think of manners? How about looking someone in the eyes and offering a FIRM handshake when you meet a new acquaintance? The firm handshake is going the way of the dinosaur…I can’t stand it when I get a floppy, soggy, lifeless handshake (happens with dudes too). Be forewarned…I’ll all but crack your bones with my handshake! It’s simply how I was brought up…with manners.

How about social manners? You know those simple situations when you are invited somewhere with friend number 1 and ten minutes later you get a way better offer from friend number 2? What do you do? There’s no questioning as far as I’m concerned….you go with friend number one because they asked you first. No white lies, no making up an excuse…you go with friend number one because it’s the right thing to do.

How about when your plans get canceled for a fun outing and then you see that the person you had those fun plans with is now out having fun with someone else? Even better when it involves your child being left out? I get it….go with your better option. Clearly that’s what works for you. Come ON people! Where are your manners?

I know I’m not the only one who has manners but sometimes I feel a little put off by other people’s moral compass. I know I’m coming in hot on this one and to be standing on my perfect pedestal way up here in the land of ‘I’m never wrong about anything’ might seem flat out judgemental….you’re absolutely right! However, I’m a little more than peeved though and I get the feeling others can relate to what I’m saying here.

Aren’t there basic manners that we’ve all been taught about what’s right and wrong? Have we forgotten our manners or do we just come up with our own once we become adults? I pride myself on teaching my girls the manners I was taught as a child. It’s such a beautiful way to share my childhood with my girls by teaching them the things I was taught. Nothing better than a living example to show your babies. It’s so frustrating though to feel like I have to teach my daughters to constantly take the high road when dealing with situations and friends.

I’m tired of taking the high road too sometimes. Aren’t we all a little tired of it? Don’t you just want to scream “Where are your manners you idiot?!”

I know…I won’t scream that at anyone…it’s bad manners. But I can blog it😂! Love and belief everyone! Forgive this flamingo tonight and her ruffled feathers please. We’ve all been there!

Lioness

You know that simple psychology test you can take where you choose your favorite animal and three words to describe it? The descriptive words for the animal are really the words you see yourself as. My favorite animal was always the giraffe and my words were: tall, graceful, and elegant. I love those amazingly beautiful creatures. Every time I see one they simply take my breath away. How can you not love a giraffe? They are just such a example of God’s creativity with the animal kingdom.

That’s always been my ‘go to’ animal. If anyone would ask me what my favorite animal was I’d always say the giraffe. I was doing the psychology test one day with one of my sisters and when I told her my animal and why she told me this: “Susanna I don’t see you as a giraffe at all….you are a lioness…fierce, strong, and protective of your cubs.”

Huh. I paused for a little bit and let that sink in. A lioness…they are incredible creatures…gorgeous, graceful, strong, hunters, fearless,…they hang out in prides with other female lions and hunt as a team. They feed their entire family while caring for their young. As a member of the animal kingdom I would also imagine that no other animals would want to mess with them. Can you imagine who’d want to poke a lioness for no good reason?

Look at her. She’s stunning. She’s even got amazing lashes…bet she uses Lash Boost by Rodan and Fields! She’s perfectly perched on that rock resting…watching…waiting for her next job to present itself. Whether it’s taking care of her cubs or gathering strength for her next hunt she’s incredible.

Check out her paws…they carry her, they are huge yet fit seamlessly with her frame. Those paws attack, kill, and provide food but they are the same paws that cradle her young, take her where she needs to go, and allow her to be who she is without fear.

I’d say I’m a lioness alright. I’m the grocery getter and my husband protects our pride by providing for our family. We’ve got two very distinct roles…he’s the provider and I’m the nurturer. I hunt in packs and hang out with many other lionesses and it’s just like second nature to me. We look out for each others cubs and aren’t afraid to swat at anything that threatens us with our claws.

Careful with those paws though…claws can hurt and they can leave unintended scars. Roaring is one thing but swipes just because you ‘just have to get it out’ can lead to boundaries, both visible and invisible.

Oh the things this lioness has seen while perched on her rock. The things she’s encountered while hunting for her family. The things she’s experienced while hanging out with her pride of other lionesses. Lots and lots I’d say. The past few years have been a lot. A lot of good and a lot of change. Thank goodness I’ve got Jesus or I’d be withered and lifeless.

I wrote in a blog a few weeks back about how I’ve reduced the noise in my life…no more Facebook, no more groups to inspire with Whole 30 or my prayer page, no more Oh Susanna’s Pumpkin Bread (gasp). I was praying to God to show me the next chapter in my life. What’s my job now? What am I supposed to do with my heart and how can I show you, God, on a daily basis how to be everything you want me to be? I’m in uncertain waters but you always make it clear in time what you want me to do for you.

I hear you now. I was quiet long enough to hear what you want me to do. I get it, and I admit it is a TALL order for me. I’m selfish, I want everything to be about me, I have tons of pride and I thrive on praise, adoration, and recognition. I’m my own stage wherever I go and am dying for an audience…so of course you would give me not what I want to do…but what YOU want me to do. It’s the most important thing I CAN do right now but for me it’s so so hard.

This is how things normally are:

And this is what I need to do…for God, my girls, and mostly for my husband…

I’ve got you Craig. I won’t show it the way I’m supposed to all the time but I promise to always try my best. Thank you for all you do to provide for our pride. This lioness loves you very much. Roarrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Mother’s Day year 2

I went to a bible study retreat a few weeks ago and the theme was ‘fearless’. I was thrilled to go and was even asked to be a small group leader. No problem. I couldn’t wait to go and was ready to see what god had in store for me that weekend.

Night one was uneventful. I thought I’d be hit with some amazing truth that would knock me over and change me forever. It didn’t happen. I was so happy to be there but after that first night was pretty convinced that my purpose in being there would be for someone else. Someone there is gonna be blessed with whatever hope I can give them through my transparency and my words. I’ll spend the time being a great listener and throw myself into what someone else needs.

I went into the weekend feeling so good about where I was with my walk with God and all of my relationships. I’ll just be a good leader. Yep, that went out the window by day two early afternoon.

The speaker starting talking about soul ties…who are you bound with forever and what pieces of you do they have? I listened and listened and it was a good thing I was sitting down because I couldn’t move once it hit me. My soul tie is my mother. For better or for worse I am bound to her forever. Once she died I was so at peace with everything. I had no regrets about anything with my mom…or so I thought.

I didn’t realize that I was holding on to everything having to do with my momma…the good and the bad. I couldn’t put down any of the bad because I felt it would be losing more of her that is already gone. I felt it would be disrespectful to release anything having to do with her. I was faced with this very strong truth: I needed to forgive my mother and I needed her to forgive me….for all of it. For me being selfish, for me not respecting her the way I should have, for me not being kinder to her, for me not picking up the phone when she would call…the little things, the big things…all of it.

I sat at that retreat session and was supposed to write down on an index card what I needed to give to God. I just sat there staring at it. Everyone else in the room wrote furiously fast on their cards….then they all stood up and declared their freedom from giving their issues to God. Then they tore up their cards and tossed the pieces in the air. All I could do was hold my head in my hands and look down. I can’t write anything on that card, I can’t stand and let it go, and I sure as s#@& can’t even lift my head up. I was the only one sitting down. Can I just go home now? Uber? Get me out of here!

Then the angels come…the ones you know and the ones you don’t…who lay hands on you and pray for you when you can’t even hold your head up. They had no idea why I was hurting but it didn’t matter…they just prayed over me. Pure beauty my friends…pure beauty. The hands and feet of Jesus.

The session ended and I thought I was off the hook. I wasn’t. Another angel found me and told me I needed to write on my card my soul tie and then I needed to tear it up. I did it, only because I knew I really had to….as soon as I tore it up I carefully put the pieces on my table in front of me. It wasn’t two seconds later that a staff member whisked my pieces up in her hands and put them in the trash. I had a visceral reaction when she took them away…..please don’t take those pieces of paper away! Even though it represents all the hurt and guilt I have towards my mother….good or bad it is taking away something I have of my mother’s! I know I need to let it go but I’m so scared to!

I never stood that weekend and declared my freedom from anything. I tore up my paper and I gave it to God but I still wasn’t ready to let go of anything. I was raw, so horribly raw, fearful if you want to know the truth, and scared that something I never thought was inside me was brought to light front and center. I prayed and prayed over the next few days and it finally came to me.

I’m ready to truly give this to God and trust him with my heart. I took a rock and wrote the words I wrote on my index card: Mom…forgive me….I forgive you. I went downtown to the lake. Shaking and crying I gripped that rock, said her name….momma…momma…momma…and then threw it in the lake. I give it to you God…please tell mom I forgive her for not being what I needed her to be and please ask her to forgive me for not being everything she wanted me to be.

I give you my soul tie God. I know you will fill the parts I held onto that were dark with your light, your truth, your joy, and your comfort. You’ve carried me this whole time and you will continue to. I’m sure of it.

Happy Mother’s Day to you momma. I love you so so much 💕

The Year to Trust

Been a while since I’ve written…a long while actually. I guess I use my words when I talk with people and haven’t really felt like writing them down. I’m in a weird space right now. All the things I thought I was supposed to be doing to honor God I’ve removed from my life.

I’ve always been glued to Facebook and it was such a great way for me to network with friends who I don’t see every day. I’d spend hours and I mean hours a day scrolling through the feed, liking everyone’s posts and making sure I’d comment on the ones I really loved. Then I added a Whole 30 page with over 350 women. Great way to inspire many and get them focused on eating healthy foods and being accountable.

I loved it so much but I wanted to reach more people and be able to inspire them with my faith so I created a prayer page…post your prayer requests, praise reports, pray for others and post something inspiring at least once a day. I loved it…until Lent rolled around. I knew in less than half a second that I needed to give up Facebook for lent. It was just too much….too much managing, too many memories that would pop up and make me sad, and navigating through politics (literal and figurative), passive aggressive, both on Facebook and even on my prayer page which I created with only the best of intentions…it had to go.

40 days came and went and truthfully I felt better after five minutes of not being on Facebook. Just five minutes! Craig kept asking me on Easter Sunday when I was going to get back online and start posting (this was also Lauren’s birthday and my sister surprised me by coming from New York to see me!) normally this would be Facebook gold but I had no urge to scroll or post. God removed it from my life temporarily to show me I didn’t need it at all.

Trust….it’s my word of the year for me and God. I will trust you lord because you always have a plan for me and a solution that I can’t always see at first. I’m laying it at your feet because you show me I can trust you.

Inspiring others through Facebook is no longer my calling. Ok. Check. Take that one off the list. Remove all the affirmation I crave from others and yes, god shows me that HE affirms me and that’s all I need.

You know that feeling of ‘well I have to be doing something …what is my calling?’ What am I supposed to be doing for you Lord? I can see the obvious things that I thought were what you wanted from me… but that’s clearly not what you are asking me to do. Go to a certain church, lead others, be a part of worship team, … none of those things panned out. I thought for sure they were meant for me.

Everything I thought I was supposed to be part of has been carefully removed from me. So here I sit waiting, and a little exposed if you want to know the truth. I know I can’t rely on myself …believe me, I get that. I also know I have to trust God….yadda yadda …I get it. But living in that exposed space is very new to me and I’m not sure what to do with it. It’s liberating and nerve racking at the same time. I want to see what’s next. I want it to be amazing. I don’t want to waste time waiting for my next mission. Every day is such an opportunity to reach out and make a difference. Yet I find myself tucked behind a fence, peering over with just my eyes and my hands like those Ziggy cartoon drawings in the 80’s…what’s next?

I’m always so loud and boisterous. Loud and proud! Shout from the mountain tops loud of my love for God and how he has changed me and my life… but now I’m quiet lately. It’s not a bad thing either….it’s just entirely new for me! God clearly needs me quiet but I don’t know why.

It’s not my turn, not my time, not about me…hard to not take some things personally lately. It’s all ok though. It’s all ok. I started this year with ‘trust’ as my word and it is playing through to this day so I know it is intentional. It’s new, I’m not sure I like it, but I trust you Lord and I will wait to see how the matter turns out. I can plan all I want God but you determine my steps.

Ghosts

I’m being haunted…by myself. Ghosts of an old me are drifting in and through moments of my day and I’m not liking her. The skinny ghost…the one who weighed 118 on her best day. The ghost with long hair…she floats through too. The tan ghost…oh well…I know now that pale is actually ok. I’m taking way better care of my skin! The size 4 ghost…where are my sweatpants even though it’s 95 degrees right?

Those are surface ghosts…the superficial ones that manifest whenever I see “post workout posts from Facebook friends”. I’m proud of my beautiful friends and all their efforts to be fit. Trust me ladies, you’ve more than earned the right to post your amazing figures, your calorie count, and how many miles you ran. I’m proud of you.

But my beautiful ghost is haunting me.  Easy enough to fix right? Get off your butt and go for a run. Typing the words actually triggers a physical response …terror. It’s so raw that I’m writing this but I feel I need to get it out by at least saying it.

My biggest ghost is running. I used to run every day and I used to love it. It didn’t matter if it was a short two or if I was training for a half marathon I loved running. If I was ever in a store the only section I’d go to was the workout section. I’d ask for running shoes for Christmas. Cold mornings were so exciting for me because I knew I could run farther and I couldn’t wait . I’d find great music to download on my iPod and away I’d go. Just me…running, or I’d run with a friend.

I can’t do it. I’m too scared to. I’m pretty sure I know why and I’m scared to bring that to the surface. The last half marathon I ran my mom came to help with the girls because Craig was out of town.  She cheered me on and was there for the whole thing. I wasn’t alone because she was there.

I’m haunted because it’s a part of my life that I used to be so proud of. I was proud of how I looked and felt but it’s also a part that emotionally was so tangled…like that stupid spider web you walk into and immediately you look like a karate ninja…you know what I’m talking about. I’m not that spider web of a mess anymore but I feel like every time I see people running it triggers a very strong physical response from me. I cry.  Do you know how many runners there are in Celebration? I do! I’ve got the Kleenex to prove it!

I had a runner friend ask me the other day to join her in a 10K and I could barely get the words out that I didn’t run anymore. Her face was shocked. That and all the other sub-ghosts swirling around are telling me it’s time to chase this ghost away but I’m scared .

I had a wonderful visit with a friend last week and we opened the Bible and meditated on a random chapter…a randomly chosen chapter by us but not by God. It was Hebrews 12. After reading it she asked me what stood out to me and why. I didn’t share the initial thing that jumped off the page but I will here: verses 1-3: ‘And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding it’s shame.’

God puts those words in front of me. He knows my ghosts, and the word that jumped out at me was ‘run’.  I need to get past my ghost of running and I know how to chase it away: by keeping my eyes on Jesus. I’m still so scared. Help quiet my fears Lord Jesus, help me chase this ghost away. I can’t do it on my own. Honestly, I’m so scared. Love and belief everyone❤️< span id=”img_container_6F0A72C8-ED62-44AF-A250-A6C18AC0257B” class=”img_container”><<
p>

Gratitude

How thankful are you right now? How thankful are you? How do you express your gratitude when you’re thankful? 

When a simple ‘thank you’ just isn’t enough…when saying the words is all you can do in that moment but it’s nowhere near what you are screaming on the inside. 

I said thank you last week to my prayer group but I was so overwhelmed I could hardly speak.

Here’s why I’m thankful. My father in law was rushed to the hospital Tuesday morning for multiple issues and honestly it seemed like he wasn’t going to make it. Without going into his medical details I knew it was serious enough to force my husband to get in his car and rush to north Georgia in the hopes he would make it in time to say goodbye. 

All he kept saying to me was …”I’m not ready for it to be today…just not today”. How well I know that feeling because my today was robbed from me. I didn’t make it in time to say goodbye to my mother and I didn’t want that for my husband. I just prayed that Craig would make it in time…and thankfully he did. I didn’t want him having any regrets about doing everything he could to get there.

Just as bible study was getting ready to start I started receiving calls from my husband about the deteriorating condition of his father. I kept telling him to just get in his car and drive to Georgia to see his dad.

As I stepped back in the room, Holly asked if everything was ok. I didn’t want to hijack the prayer group but I briefly explained what was going on. Immediately without any hesitation, Kim stands up and tells me to to move in the center of the room. A chair is placed and I sit down and two seconds later the entire group is laying hands on me and praying for my father in law! 

The Holy Spirit is alive, well, real, and thriving!!! It was in that room the whole time. The prayer wasn’t for a miracle, it was simply to ease his pain…just quiet his pain…

The prayer ends and we all sat down and got to the lesson of the day. I’m sitting there…actually floating there is a better way to describe how I’m feeling. I can’t process that these incredible women just put down whatever they came in with that morning, flew out of their seats and gave it all to Jesus for me. The magnitude of that moment…I’ll never be able to fully express the feeling that was in that room. It could have moved a mountain if it needed to. It could have swayed a hurricane out to sea. It could heal a mostly non-believer.

I went to lunch with a friend after bible study and asked her point blank what his odds were for survival based on everything we knew. She bluntly but with love (thank you Patsy) told me it would take a miracle to have him live. I then went into funeral planning mode, mentally pack my bags mode, and who am I going to get to feed the fish while we are gone mode.

When I talked to my mother in law later on in the day I told her about the prayer and how everyone laid hands on me and the prayer that was prayed….she burst into tears because she said that his pain subsided throughout the day and how it was a miracle that it did!!!

In that moment we only knew that he was in kidney failure, having heart problems, and that they had found a huge mass on his prostate. We weren’t sure which surgeries would be needed and in what order but she did tell me through tears that she felt the prayers throughout the entire day because his pain gradually subsided as the day went on.

So here’s where things stand: he has a long way to go and many more uphill battles to climb but Wednesday was not his day to die. 

And here’s where I fall down: I fall down on my knees with my face planted on the ground and my arms fully extended in front of me…fully submissive to Jesus and whatever he wants from me. I fall down because I can’t stand on my own without him and the sisterhood I am lucky to be a part of. I fall down because in the presence of what I’ve felt and experienced this week I dare someone to stay standing. I fall down with gratitude…over and over again I fall down. 

Thank you is nowhere near enough. Use me God to help comfort someone else today. Help me show my gratitude to you and to others. Guide me wherever you want me to go. Thank you for showing me who you are through my Wednesday bible study group.  I fall down with gratitude because it’s all I can do. 

Love and belief everyone.

Momma’s army of mommas

Ladies…you came through like nothing I’ve ever seen. Actually, that’s not true because when my mom died you came through in ways I couldn’t even fathom. It’s no accident the people surrounding me are as wonderful as they are. They are given by God to take care of each other and this weekend it was my turn.

Elizabeth came screaming downstairs in the middle of the night this past Sunday. I swear, all the scary stuff happens in the middle of the night right?! Poor thing was doubled over, screaming in pain, shaking, and whiter than a ghost. I didn’t have time to think, threw her in the car and left my 5 year old sleeping in my bed. I can’t be in two places at once and I don’t want to bring Lauren to the emergency room. So I made a quick decision and left her at home.

55 miles an hour in the Prius in a 25 zone and frantically calling people on my cell phone I finally got ahold of Heather and Jeff. With no questions asked they woke up, walked over to my  my house and took care of Lauren. Miracle number 1 of many: The kindness of friends.

Miracle number 2: Jan. I must have called her (I don’t even remember) and she went immediately to my house, picked up Lauren and brought her to her house and then packed a bag for me and came to the emergency room to be with me. No questions asked and she knows me well enough to not listen when I tell her to stay at home. Thank you Jan. My crisis Momma who drops everything at a moments notice.

Elizabeth was taken back right away and given a CT scan with contrast. Poor thing was poked with needles and iv’s and the whole time didn’t cry. She ‘yes ma’am ‘ and ‘no ma’am’ everyone she came in contact with…even while being in the worst pain of her life. Blows me away. They gave my baby morphine…morphine….because that’s how bad she was hurting. 

The doctors came back and said it was most likely her appendix and that they would be transferring her immediately to the children’s hospital via ambulance where they would most likely have to remove them via surgery. 

Surgery? Morphine? She’s 11… she’s 11… my first baby….all I can do is freak out on the inside and play like this is no big deal on the outside. Acting comes in handy sometimes although this is not the stage I want to be performing on right now! 

We get in the ambulance and there is miracle number 3: the name of the ambulance is ‘Angel 2’.  The sweetest driver kept my mind busy the whole drive and I saw the most beautiful sunrise over the interstate. God gives you beauty no matter where you are. 

We arrive at the hospital and are put in a room with the sweetest nurses. My phone is blowing up…literally it shut itself off because there were so many concerned friends wanting to know about my baby and all of them letting me know how much they were praying for us.

Miracle 4: Melissa. She called me and told me to put my hands on Elizabeth where the pain was and to pray over it. I did…I put my hands gently on her lower right side and prayed for God to quiet her body, for the doctors to be able to see clearly what was wrong, and to be able to help her heal. I prayed for God’s perfect peace to be over her and her body.

Miracle 5: The surgeon came in about 5 minutes later and said that no surgery was needed. It appeared to be an infection in her appendix but was not appendicitis. I’ve never heard of such a thing but he gave me many reasons as to why he thought this. I’m sleep deprived and all I can think to do is say ‘thank you’. No one needs to cut open my baby. Breathe….. breathe…this amazing news happened 5 minutes after I laid hands on her and prayed over her.

They are going to keep her the rest of the day and overnight to monitor her and I’m so relieved. Now to try to answer some texts and keep people updated.

Miracle number 6: I had so much time to read the Bible and share with Elizabeth. What a beautiful way to slow down, get into the reading of God’s word, and to share that love and excitement with my daughter. 

Miracle number 7: as I was reading the Bible I read this verse: Matthew 9:22. “daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well”. Amazing right!? That exact verse right in front of me. 

The rest of the day and night were as peaceful as they could be in a hospital and there was even a surprise visit from Auntie Bekah and Uncle Steve. Elizabeth was beside herself with Joy to see them! Thank you Bekah and Steve for coming to see her and for bringing me a steak dinner, my pillow, blanket, and most appreciated of all….my iced tea!

We’re home now and are tired but good. While I’m watching her like a hawk I’m confident she is on the road to feeling better.

To Sean and Ray Ray: thank you for talking with me and for being so concerned and loving. Like we needed this to happen right!? 

To my medical mommas: Dara, Kate, and Michelle who have doctor husbands…thank you for praying for Elizabeth and offering their listening ears to answer any questions I might have. You’re all amazing.

To Meli for telling me to pray the specific prayer you did. It worked! You’re incredible. 

To Heather and Jeff for coming over at 1:30am. Thank you.

To Jan for taking care of Lauren for me for 24 hours, and somehow managing to take care of me…you’re gonna enjoy those TJ Maxx gift cards whether you like it or not!

To Holly, Kari, Dinah, Kim, Kristen, Kim, Lisa, Kerry, Tonya, Tania, Tamara, beautiful Laura, thank you for your prayers, for encouraging me, the love and empathy, the presents for Elizabeth, the grocery store run for me….thank you.

To Celimar, who hurricane shopped for me and lugged gallons of water in high heels…you are the hands and feet of Jesus. I’m so grateful for your sweet help❤️

To the army of prayer warriors who I’m lucky enough to know…thank you for everything…absolutely everything!!

To my Lord and savior, thank you most of all for carrying me like you always do and for giving me such precious women to call my friends. Thank you.

Too Quiet

Dear mom, 

I love and miss you as always. Both girls are in school now and the worst part of my day is right after I drop them off at school and come back to an empty house. The silence is deafening at times and for once I have a quiet house and I automatically think I should call you because I finally have a quiet house! The first time in 11 years that things are quiet enough to have a conversation with you. I’m still on autopilot thinking I can just pick up the phone and call you. I burst into tears this morning when I came back from bringing the girls to school. I sobbed in my kitchen and held myself up on the countertop. I just wanted to call you on the phone and I couldn’t.

One of the things I’m so thankful for about you was that you always listened to me and were so understanding of whatever I would be going through. You didn’t have to solve my problem, you just listened to my hurt, repeated it back to me, and assured me that you understood my feelings and that you were sorry I was feeling sad, angry, hurt, etc. I really wish you were still here for so many reasons, but mostly because today was just such a rough day. It’s more than just missing you. It’s more. 

I don’t feel like my best self. I’ve gained 7 pounds and I have no interest in working out. I never want to run again. I’ll ride a bike but I don’t want to run anymore. I guess I equate running with you. You were the last and only one to cheer me on when I ran the Celebration half two years ago. I just can’t do it. Too many waves to navigate. Too many sad memories associated with it.

Just like I can’t go back to St. Pete or the beach either. It’s just too painful. 

You know the other things on my heart too. The things I’ve talked to you about time and time again. The things that you would respond to me by saying “I understand”. Those feelings of not measuring up, not making the cut, not feeling like I’m worthy of any effort.

It was so quiet today. No phone ringing off the hook or kids playing video games.  So I kept busy baking pumpkin bread and tried to keep moving. I’m ready for fall and hoping things will pick up with my selling. I stamped 250 bags today with my logo and pumpkin stamp.

I’m starting to feel like you sometimes because I suggested to Elizabeth that we watch a romantic comedy on tv tonight and she volunteered to do her extra reading homework instead. Bummer….I know you’d watch one with me in a heartbeat if you were here. Maybe I’ll just watch it by myself and you can pull up a cloud in Heaven and watch from up there.

My faith is really strong even when I’m sad. I don’t feel like I’ve been particularly inspiring lately but even though I haven’t been loud and boisterous…I know that there’s good in the quiet. 

Maybe that’s something for me to consider… learn to like the quiet…learn to embrace it…learn to listen for God’s voice and direction. I’m not good with quiet. I thrive on being busy and feeling accomplished at the end of the day because of all that I crammed in. I read the Bible every day and I pray too. I’m grateful for that quiet time to have with me and the Lord. It’s the rest of my day that I struggle with sometimes. I just miss you. 

 Into the Woods: “Mother cannot guide you, now you’re on your own….nothing’s quite so clear now…feel you’ve lost your way…just remember…someone is on your side…some one else is not….while we are seeing our side…maybe we forgot….someone is on your side….no one is alone.”

I love you so much mom…if you could send me a little sign, a cardinal, a butterfly, anyone falling down in a public place…I’d be so grateful ❤️…just anything.
Jesus my lord and savior, I love you so much. I just miss my mother right now too. 

Susanna

Let go

It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been busy with summer and navigating life with a fresh teenager. Talk about finding a new way to parent over night! 

Funny how life recycles and gives you new challenges to deal with while also allowing old stuff to surface in new ways. I would like to say for the record that I don’t like old stuff coming back to bite me in my already tired and deflated rear end.

The past is in the past and I’ve really tried to deal with it, find my peace, find out how to not make the same mistakes I did back then, and really chew on what I’ve learned about myself in the process. What was my role in all of that? What did I do to contribute to that mess and how can I make sure I don’t do that anymore going forward? I thought I had that figured out…and then it comes back once again with fresh enthusiasm in a different yet the same light. Really!? Come ON!!! 

I guess I still have learning to do. I’m the kind of gal who likes to put a bow on it when I feel I’m done and put it away. God’s got a different plan for me though…figures…his way and not mine. Want something to change? Chew on it…here it is Susanna because you’re not done with it yet. Pray for patience? God will give you trying times …sweet Jesus I’m having some!!!!!! Exactly how much more do you think I need right now Lord?

So I climb. I climb every day I climb. Some days the climbing is easy…like going up a flight of stairs, like climbing an easy rock climbing wall…big circles, solid footing, obvious places for my hands. Easy parenting day…easy climb. Horrible day of sadness…tiny rocks, no footing or places for my hands to grasp…but I have to climb anyway. We all do.

Old garbage coming back to visit with no solution in sight? I don’t even know what that rock climbing wall looks like because I am standing at the bottom looking up at a slick wall with no rocks on it! Climb anyway…climb anyway…I’m trusting God and climbing anyway. Find footing with careful filters…learn from past mistakes and find places for your hands to grab through prayer and keeping your mouth shut!

While the climbing is easy or difficult depending on the day it’s not the real challenge…the real challenge is when you’re at the top and you have to let go. You have to let go of what you are holding onto and trust that your harness and your rope will carry you gently back to the ground. 

I’m terrified of rock climbing but I love it anyway! Every time I go I am excited to get harnessed up and then I stare at the top of the first wall and come up with excuses not to climb. I push through my fears and up I go. One foot and arm at a time. I look straight in front of me (never down) and take it one step at a time until I reach the top. Here comes the terrifying part…time to let go of the wall and float down trusting your harness and rope to hold you. 

Every time I consider just climbing back down on my own and not letting go of the wall but every time I take a deep breath and let go. It’s where faith steps in and carries me…every time. I’m scared but I know the only way down is to let go…to trust God and know he will carry me.

He does…every time.  I’m shaky at the bottom, scared, proud, and terrified at the same time. Thank you God for carrying me when I let go. I don’t like walls with no footing but I know it’s the wall in my path right now. I’ll climb it because I know you’re my harness and rope.

Get to the top and then let go. He’s got me…he’s got you too❤️

Joy in the morning

More transparent than Saran Wrap…. that’s me. All my tears flow… freely at night. I cry, I sob, I wail when I know my children are upstairs in their beds…the loud wailing, completely open and raw. Gutted, completely gutted and exhausted to the point where I have bloodshot eyes the next day! The most horrible sounding wail that surprises me every time with how raw it sounds. I’ve never cried like this in my whole life.
However, I always tell my husband that everything is fine in the morning. There’s joy in the morning Craig so don’t worry…everything is always ok in the morning. Don’t worry about me honey, I’ll always be fine in the morning.
God bless this man. The vows have kicked in this year and then some… for better or worse… he’s carried me this year….”worse” hit on November 10th when my mom died and again this week when we found out her death could have been prevented and we, thanks to the Florida Legislature can do nothing about it. Can’t sue…no retribution whatsoever. Talk about a kick in the gut. Fresh tears on an already gaping wound. 
Here’s the beautiful part….there’s ALWAYS a beautiful part….Read this verse today and as always it stopped me in my tracks….weeping may last through the night but joy comes in the morning…it does…every time. 
I wake up with a peace in my heart, a beautiful peace, and a fresh day. A chance to thank Jesus for every single thing he’s done to change me from the inside out….that peace is straight up Jesus y’all….it’s not me. I’m nowhere near capable of anything like that.
What I already knew in my heart is actually a bible verse and I found it….no way that was an accident. My hands are raised to heaven with nothing but amazement and gratitude. 
Thank you Jesus for it all. I’m so grateful. What’s he done for you today?