A Day of Remembering & A Shot of Anxiety


I slept well last night. Maybe to prepare me for today. I don’t know but I liked it.

My anxiety is heightened.  I noticed it pretty quickly this morning.

The dog barking only once. Shrill ran up my neck.

The sudden awareness that my husband & child had left and I was alone in the house.

On the drive to work my struggle was real to contain my perspective.  Switching the songs more times than  needed on the radio.

Continuing to use my peripheral vision on the guy & his dog at the park.

Anxiety and depression are partners. They walk hand in hand.  When one stops the other can easily pickup where his pal left off.

That’s how it is for me at least.

Let’s go back to the car ride to work.

Country music reminds me of my Dad. It was on the radio.

Today is the 3rd anniversary of his death. Blocking the emotions from that day, 3 years ago is normally pretty simple for me.

But not today.

It’s not like I’m not functional. I am. I got out of bed, walked, went to work, and so forth.

There’s just this blah existence in me today.

It really hit me in the car. The point where tears were coming but I said NO! Not today, at least not right now.

It’s the recollection of my feelings from that evening that creates this emotional upheaval within me. Not necessarily that he is gone.  It’s the way it all went down. I really thought I had come to terms with this.

I came home to find flowers from my husband and youngest daughter and a piece of snail mail from a friend.  Life is sometimes really hard and filled with sadness and anxiety.  But the glimmer of hope is still there, it lies within the area around us.  It may not be in our view at the moment but it is  there.

It’s coming back into my view.  Tiny bit by tiny bit.  Perhaps tomorrow.  Yes, probably tomorrow.

Dad & I

Until then,

Julie

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Cracks Within Series – #1


Sometimes when I imagine myself,  I see a person that has cracks throughout their body. The body is just flesh and bone but I’m talking about like a stain glass window of sorts. Or perhaps more like, the old china cup that has hair-line cracks throughout it but you can’t stop using it.  The thin cracks making it only more beautiful.

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Each crack within me was placed there from an experience.  The tiny cracks creating a brokenness in one shell of a human.  From the arguments on the playground to being picked last on a team as a child.  The teen emotions of being dumped by the guy I thought was my whole world or struggling to pass Algebra. Finding myself walking the high school halls practically full term pregnant.

The more substantial cracks stem from someone taking advantage of me as a child. The remnants of sleeping in a car overnight due to alcoholic situations at home. Not to forget to mention my experience of divorce, motherhood fails, and professional occupations.

Some of those cracks were brought on by other people’s actions and some my own.

Each one has its place within me and each one helped mold me into who I am today. Maybe the reason I am able to write is due to one of these or perhaps all of them.  I will never know.  I find that okay, I have always said “struggles build character.”

I’ve come to realize from the years 2013 through 2016 there became a crack in my being so substantial it made the largest of large indention.  A combination of things.  I was moved to a place of darkness, seeming to never return and changed forever who I am, almost ruining my marriage, my role as a mother in this world, and a few other things.

In the span of those three years I made choices and choices were made for me that scarred me for life.  I’m still reeling from them, especially since we find ourselves once again in the month of August. The difference is I am feeling better.  The difference is I survived.  I’m stronger and I’m still here writing about it.

Check back soon to get another edition of the Cracks Within series.

Julie

 

 

When You Realize You Aren’t as Kind & Empathetic as You Thought You Were


I always thought of myself as someone that was more empathetic and kind to others, than not being that way.  That my Christian faith aided me in that way of life.

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I mean it wasn’t like I volunteered at homeless shelters, raised money for the less fortunate, gave money or food to every person on the corner asking for it.  But I have done some of that plus donate to organizations and people I don’t even know.  I enjoy doing mission work at my home church as well.

But what happened that July morning? What happened to the person that normally sees the aid someone needs before becoming stricken with fear?  Is that only available when it seems a safe distance from me or my husband is home?

As the experience becomes a memory with each passing day I feel guilt on occasion. Guilt for not looking closer and seeing a person in need.  A person that needed medical help. Where was my thinking that these individuals stopped to rest and my porch apparently was the most inviting or just closest?

Instead I saw someone that would hurt my family.  I saw, no I felt fear and the image in front of me became blurred.  Blurred by the fact that later I would find out he was having a seizure.  At the time I had no clue why the scene in front of me was happening but it was only a few seconds glance to be honest.  My mind went to the darkest place verses the light place.

Instead of choosing to secure my daughter safely and take pity on the two strangers on my porch I called 911. (yes I know 911 would help them)  I also proceeded to bunker down in a room with my daughter.  I waited and visited with the lovely dispatcher for a good 20 or 25 minutes.  All the while these folks sat on my front porch.  What did they think, no one was home.  Did they want to be found?

The sheriff showed up and he seemed pretty laid back about the entire situation. Perhaps because he was familiar with the situation, the people, and knew things I didn’t know.  I felt better of course when I spoke to him.  Yet….

I wonder why didn’t they ring my doorbell?  Why did they choose that chair to sit in that they did?  How long had they been on my front porch?  During the night or just a short time? How long did they sit outside my daughter’s window? Are they getting the help they need now?

Many questions have run through my mind. I am the type of person that thinks, that is part of my processing.  Sometimes I never find the answers and it drives me crazy but eventually I let go and move on.

I have no clue who they are to this day or where they are now.  I now wish I would have stepped around the corner with the sheriff next to me to see them completely.  To put a face to the images I recall.  To humanize what occurred that morning, to make some sort of connection.

How to finish this post isn’t coming to me.  So I’ll just close for now.

Julie

 #1 in this series

#2 in this series

#3 in the series

#4 in this series

 

The Mediocre Level


I wrote this piece not this week but prior.  Today as I decide to actually publish it I’ve felt pretty well.  In fact, the last few days have been good.  Writing allows me to process and move forward.  Not always staying ahead but not falling as far back as I once would is more of a normal thing now. I call that progress.

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I hate that my parents died. I hate that the questions go unanswered and the memories are all I have.   I feel broken from that stint I did in 2013. I hate that the confidence I used to feel inside me has been replaced with the lack thereof and the fear of the unknown.

The task of analyzing oneself can be taunting and at times the individual may find themselves grasping to get their head above water.

Currently I do not feel I am doing any area of my life with much excellence.  The ability to be exceedingly good at something has fallen from my life it seems.  I would say I am more in the “do what I need to and get by mode.”  I’ve been running on auto pilot for sometime now.  There’s been a couple of times I’ve began with a mindset of success to only find I fall into that mediocre level once again.  Even in the times of my life (pre-2013) when I was challenged, whether personally or professionally, I still had one or two areas of life I was above average in.

As you can tell the “analyzing” oneself has recently occurred in my life and it has brought a less than stellar mojo around!  Some of you are probably saying right now, “but Julie you are doing this and this and this so well!”  But in reality I’m not.  I’m doing just enough for it to “look” okay.

I’m not falling apart, I’m just looking reality in the face at the moment.  It’s not an “upper” but the “downer” part might be what I need to face to move forward.  I can no longer be the leader of all areas of my life and do it with grace.  And it’s driving me nuts!

I can look back and see when the strength that my mother instilled in me began to fall away.  The turmoil and wreckage of an experience finally got to me and altered my everyday life.  I may be fooling myself, perhaps those traumatic experiences as a child altered me too, but until I was in my 40’s I was capable of  handling  things.  Three consecutive experiences took me to my knees and it’s hard to get up, even almost four years later.

I suppose this is where I would normally write the lines of postivity and a mantra of things to get me “re-booted”.  Well this time I’m not.  I am not going to sit in the depths of despair but I will close with this.

One.  One positive thing a day.  I shall pluck one little thing from my day that I did well and place it at the top of my thoughts.  I will bask in the glory of even the simplest task I did that was good.  Where will that lead me?

Julie

Pods of Seeds – Mom


June 2015
June 2015

This time of year makes me always think of my mother. Now that she is gone I know that I will not be seeing paper towels laying around her home with seeds drying on them ever again.

Mother loved flower gardens. Before she was too disabled she had a yard that was so very lovely and well maintained. When their beauty would fail,  she would, just at the right time, pick her seed for the next years garden.

Azalea

I never really got the gardening gene from her. I’m more the “let me look at it and someone else maintain it type of gal.”  As things begin to change with her gone, little memories like this one come to the forefront of my mind.

There is joy in the memories and hopefully they will cover the mourning that lays upon my heart.

 

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Writing Prompt – Write about the beach.


Write about the beach.

I live in Kansas. There isn’t a real beach, or what I would call a beach anywhere close to me.  I have visited one though.  A couple of years ago we traveled to San Diego, California to see our middle daughter and her husband.  Although I would not want to live there, I’m grateful we visited.

The best memory from the beach for me was watching my youngest and middle daughter together.  The personality of my middle daughter is one that enjoys simple things such as the ocean, beach, dogs, and playing.  She got right down in the sand and began to build with her young sister.  The laughter and memories from that day are in my mind and I hope I never lose them.  Little pockets of treasure for me.

The beach

This was our youngest daughter’s first experience with the ocean and she loved it.  The image of her Daddy and her splashing and him holding her.  Another little pocket of treasure for me.

The beach

Remembering back makes me smile.  I’m so fortunate I can recall these treasures.  It wasn’t about the beautiful ocean, the sunset over the water, the dolphins while we ate.  It was the time of family together growing in their love for one another.  My pocket is spilling over with treasure now. 🙂

Grace is a gift,
Julie

Bittersweet Gifts


Have you ever received something that was bittersweet?  I’m not talking chocolate.  I’m talking a gift or possibly an heirloom.  Something that you didn’t expect or had forgotten about  and then found it much later.  This happened to me recently.

I was cleaning out my email inbox and a gift was waiting there for me.  The sender was my oldest sister and I assumed it was a photo of my Dad. The month of the email made me think this and I knew she had taken a few for me.  What I found when I opened the attachment was not a photo but a video.

DAD 2

The video is of my Dad telling me a story.  He is holding my hand.  When it began to play it was like my mind could not wrap itself around what was playing.  It wasn’t long and the tears began to fall.  They were a mixture of tears of sadness for missing him and tears of joy for being able to hear him speak.

This is my bittersweet gift.

Treasure it, yes I will.  Dwell on it, probably not.  I will keep it safe and take it out on days when I feel the need.  Too many views wouldn’t be right and too little would be sad.  So a happy medium I shall find with this bittersweet gift I’ve been given.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Scents & Smiles


On the country road where dirt flies and winds gust there is an old sporadically blooming bush.  After four years of living here I just now noticed this bush along the roadside where my in-laws live.  There were three clumps of  branches with purple buds beginning to bloom.  This image took me back to many years ago when I was but a child.  A time when we lived in the “house on the quarter” and all the way down the driveway there were huge lilac bushes.  I can recall making my way to fetch our mail and loving the scent in the air on a spring day.  When I smell lilacs today it takes me back to that treasured time of my life.

After a few moments I found myself back to reality and collecting the mail.  I couldn’t help myself.  I made my way to the bush and picked a lilac, shut my eyes, and a smile appeared upon my face.  I was seven again and just drinking in the goodness of the sweet smell of lilac.  All the way back to my home I continued to smile and smell this beautiful scent.

Unfortunately, the sad thing about lilacs is once they are picked they don’t last very long.  Perhaps that is part of what makes them special as well as the scent, only here for a short time.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

My Sister Said It Best


While in a conversation recently with my sisters and a cousin we were discussing our families, how things used to be, and the ache in our hearts of days gone by.  I mentioned that my own children don’t really know their cousins and the days of us gathering once a year passed to long ago.  Two of my children are adults now and as we recently attended a funeral of another cousin (Rest in Peace Terri) it ached me that they didn’t feel connected as I did.  It’s not their fault completely, it’s the fact that many years ago the family took a route I truly believe shouldn’t have.

As I was speaking one of my sisters basically hit the nail on the head in regards to why we feel such a loss has occurred in our lives from the absence of connecting with extended family.  She stated “Don’t you think it’s because we got a taste of it?”  It’s true.  We received a gift of gathering together at least once a year to laugh, sing, hang out, play, and just be together.  My eldest daughter enjoyed a little of it but my middle and youngest daughters have not really any idea.  They only know my siblings children as cousins, not the many more that share the same DNA of sorts. There was a legacy created from my grandparents and is still there to be rejuvenated

I recently began a cousins Facebook private page because I thought it would be a beginning of sorts to reconnect.  A place to begin to build relationships that never existed, that existed some, and introduce the generations ahead to some pretty crazy awesome people!   See I write about family legacy and farm legacy over at In Between the Sunsets of Life often.  That comes from my husband’s family.  I’d like to reconnect and build on the legacy of the family that we have seem to have lost touch with.  I want to hear the stories of days gone by, laugh at sibling’s familiar jokes, and cousin’s pranks on one another.

I hope that my cousins will come along and join the ride to reconnecting and  building a legacy.  That ill feelings, selfish ways, mindless chatter, and petty thoughts will be replaced with love, laughter, support, and good times.  One that our grandchildren and their children can say they got a taste of. I think my grandparents would be proud of the people who exist in their family. Every generation a prized possession and every one of them important. 

Grace is a gift and family is precious – hold tight to them.

Julie

Cousins

If I Had Chosen Differently


This moment while I  stood amidst  a child filled, noisy, toy discovery place

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Our youngest amazed and intrigued by air and cloth.

 

made me remember this moment.

Mom & P
The first time I held our youngest daughter, 24 hours old.

 

It made me think to myself, what if I had made a different choice. What if I had chosen not to show my love for my spouse through parenting. What if I had decided I was done raising children, that I didn’t want to start over.

My life would be different for sure. Perhaps quieter, more relaxed, more free time, less hugs and kisses, less experience with adoption, less opportunity to love, less giggles, and much less learning. To understand the moments in life that are truly valuable, it took becoming a parent for the third time I think.  For it to really sink in and make it stick.  My other two children are much older and came from my loins but I love all my children the same.  They each have their special way of making me feel pretty lucky and they make me proud and crazy often. Which is  a good combination I think!

This third child I believe helped me to calm, to love even more than I imagined, to trust others and God more, to stop and truly watch the world around me.  To appreciate the fact that my plan isn’t always the best plan.  God has humor you know!

PV & I 2015

In the little moments of life I ask you to stop and just let go.  To embrace what has been placed before you and open your heart and mind to the amazing opportunity that is right there.  Whether it’s a child,  nature, family, a meal, or a friend.  Take it and treasure it, appreciate it for with each day our lives change.

Grace is  a gift,

Julie