What Did I Get From Him?


Dad Collage

The few last weeks I’ve been thinking of my Dad more often.  It seems when I watch my husband and our nine year old daughter together,  my own dad comes to mind.  As I pondered thoughts I was trying to figure out what “things” my own father taught me as I grew up.

When I wrote this piece for his funeral I meant every word.  Many things to be grateful for but yet a 46 year old daughter longing to recall exactly what he taught her is puzzling.   My parents divorced when I was 11 and he was basically absent the couple years before that more or less.  It’s hard to think of any of my daughters being without their fathers. Fortunately they all have had active ones their entire lives.  I hope they realize what a blessing that is.

pvmv-corn

This post isn’t a bashing on my deceased father, it’s a thought process.  It’s how I deal with things that fester and instead of letting them grow into something ugly, I’ll turn it into something good.  That working through words will weave an acceptance to an area of my life.

I think he may have even been okay with it.  Writing letters.  I suppose he taught me that. After the divorce we wrote to one another. This was my only real connection with him. He didn’t get me every other weekend or call.  He wasn’t much of a talker.

I recall playing poker with my Dad once, I’m sure there were other times too.  I think I remember it so well because it was Christmas time and my brother and I ended up walking home from our grandparents house.  His pickup broke down and it was freezing out.

There was the time Dad and I were in my Grandpa’s pickup.  YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE came on the radio and he sang to me.  It was funny.  There was more turmoil than laughter in my childhood so this memory is very precious.

He didn’t teach me to ride a bike or even drive a car. Elementary and high school graduations he didn’t attend or the birth of my first daughter.   The absence of him as I began dating was hard but I had a good replacement at the time.  My step-father came into the picture when I was around 14.  I still longed to have my Dad present in my life but Bob really was a good father figure.

I can look in the mirror and see physical traits that resemble my Dad.  But as the youngest of his four children, the question what did he teach me that enables me to conduct my life the way I do is present.

Yesterday I was watching this music video, my Dad came to mind.  I showed it to my youngest daughter, the one that seemed to “give him a new reason to live back in 2008”  as my husband put it.  Johnny Cash always reminded me of my Dad, the physical traits mostly and his size.  As I watched the video with my daughter I couldn’t keep the tears away.

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Almost three years and I still miss the man that I am not sure taught me much.  I’m okay with that I guess.  I am not so very curious for the words I have placed upon this post have brought acceptance I suppose.  Hugs from that little girl he thought was pretty special made things better too.

mother daughter

Julie

The Ugly Parts


You know that thing going around Facebook, the Love Your Spouse Challenge?  Well I was cringing every time I got onto Facebook because I figured one of my friends would nominate me eventually.  It happened.  I’m on day 3 by the way.  Until today I didn’t post anything gushy with the picture, just the facts of when it was taken.  In fact, I didn’t get real gushy today but it was more wordy and the truth.  It’s a start, right?

Anniversary Trip ARKANSAS
See a happy time.  I wanna go back. I loved that trip!

Oh sure.  I could have just not did it but then the facade of our marriage might be in jeopardy! The view of my life from the outlet of social media in danger!  Don’t act like you don’t think this way (on occasion).  We want others to think and believe that our lives are beautiful and picture worthy and that the ugly never enters.  It does.  The ugly makes it appearance and it brings you to your knees.  To the point of “get me outta here!”   Which in reality means get in my car, go for a long drive, and turn up some Aerosmith or Zac Brown Band or something of that nature.

Disclaimer here – I love my husband but it takes more than love to make a marriage work.  Divorce isn’t in our language so don’t go telling others our marriage is over please.   Just wanted that documented.

Struggling times, problem times, hiccup in the road times. Whatever you want to call them  – happen in marriage.  It’s the ugly truth and hiding it I suppose is the “norm”, sometimes I just wanna buck the norm!  Sometimes I don’t want to feel alone in this struggle after 13 years of marriage. The frustration.  The loneliness.  The anger.  The sadness.

I’m an expressive person where my husband is not. I don’t necessarily need to share my dirty laundry with the world. Or perhaps I do since I’m blogging here today.  Maybe I’m angry at the world because sharing your dirty laundry is frowned upon.  Then again that would make me a hypocrite cause when I see some of the things posted on Facebook I want to reach through the computer screen and smack the person that posted it!

Do I seem a little feisty today?  Yes I am but it’s milder than it was two days ago I promise. Perhaps snarky is a more accurate word.  I don’t want depression, marriage issues, struggles, and grief to be something that people shy away from when seeing it in others.  I don’t want to feel uncomfortable or have them uncomfortable.  But I am.

When a couple of friends have reached out, I now feel embarrassed and ashamed.  I feel like by now I should have it back together.  That I should be happy with the newer house, the healthy kids, the hard-working husband, the easy job I have, and so much more.

They’re right. I should.  This darkness won’t go away though.   The heaviness that I feel is not dissipating.  Although hearing God’s word yesterday did help.  Then again this morning reading and writing in my prayer journal.  It’s a start right?

Whether it’s depression or marriage issues or work issues or family issues hang on.  If you are struggling out there know you are not alone.  Others in this world are in the midst of something not so sweet and beautiful.  The point is to move forward.  Right now I feel like I’m stuck in a spot of mud but I know in the back of my mind I will get out.  I will move forward to a better day, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe in an hour.  I don’t know when but it’s coming.

I’m pushing to the light of grace.

glow
See the light in the corner?  It’s there and I’m heading for it. 

Julie

365 Posts Has Arrived


The experience of writing here at Pushing Forward with Grace  has given me many things.  A place to write about topics that lie deep within me, grow personally, grieve openly, share the Word of God, and hopefully inspire others to name a few.

When I started this blog I knew I needed to sharpen my writing skills and write about more personal things.  It gave me a place to give a voice to things in my mind and heart.  I wasn’t 100% sure what I would be writing on any given day but I’m happy with the past year.  I feel my writing has improved and some of the comments that were made brought me strength and comfort.  I am thankful for those things.

Flowers

You might be interested to know that the posts that received the most views were the ones with these categories. Honesty Days, God, and Just Me.

There may not have been many comments throughout the year but to me this blog became a place to write for myself.  It brought a daily place for me to write my feelings, my aspirations, my sadness or happiness, and share with the readers what was ultimately me.  Having a place to write my thoughts was therapeutic most of the time.

I’m not sure what will happen now that I’ve reached my 365 days writing experiment.  I plan to take a break to focus on other opportunities and relax. To rest my writing brain and my wrist.  Please continue to follow via email so when something is published you can be the first to know!

Thank you for following me on this journey and taking time to read words I’ve written.  I would very much like to have some feedback regarding the writing and subjects you read this year.  What touched you primarily and how I can improve my writing.  Thank you for your help.

May the Lord bless you and keep you and I hope we visit in the future via the computer screen!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Just (parts of)  Me!

A year later in review farm wife Braving the cold JV blood donation Combine driver Child Julie 1972

 

 

Connection of Simplicity


Connection of  Simplicity

I wrote this post yesterday and then I ended up spending my evening in what I longed for.  A simpler time.  Our small town was having its annual weekend of events. The county fair which included all kinds of things.  Although weather tried to keep it from occurring, the Kansans stayed the course which is normal, waited out the thunderstorm, and enjoyed the evening.

It consisted of young children showing animals and exhibits being shared of their hard work in 4H.  Local folks entering their baked good, sewing, etc to be judged.  Where even though the parade was over in 15 minutes and you didn’t have to go three hours early for a good seat, people showed up to watch and participate.

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The evening’s center of attention was that of cowboys and cowgirls showing their skills and lack of fear, all while riding livestock.   When the rodeo began there was a drill team that brought in not only the United States of America flag, but the Kansas flag as well as one for each of the Armed Forces.  All the while we were standing in respect for those who have fought for our country.  When they completed their performance and the music had stopped it for sure felt like a simpler time to me.

Visiting a simpler time brought out young children chasing a couple calves to win a prize, young men showing their abilities on their dirt bikes and atv’s, church youth running concession stands that we ate too much food from, and cowboys that headed to another rodeo without winning a dime this night.   Where seven-year old girls competed against women in barrel racing and if she hadn’t turned over that one barrel would have been pretty close to the top!  One of the my favorite points in this public event was when the announcer prayed.  He didn’t just do a generic prayer.  To me it sounded so good to hear someone speak aloud among the people the words “Jesus Christ our Savior”.  The weekend will end with a demo derby and more food from concession stands.  All in the spirit of our small town fair.

Sometimes living in a small town can seem restrictive.  When you need something from the store, they are out or don’t carry it. The price of gas could be slightly higher than the larger town 20 minutes away.  There are no large stores or big libraries.  But what they do have is connection.

The people in small communities know each other’s names, their children’s names, and how to greet one another.  Whether it be a wave as you drive down the street, or a pat on the back as one enters the coffee shop. They come together strong when one of their own is in need.  The connection of the community is vital as it holds the town in the present.

Rural living isn’t for everyone I understand that.  My thinking is that perhaps those that do not live in it, should at least visit it occasionally.  To retain a connection of community and take it back to the larger communities.

Grace is a gift,
Julie

 

Writing Prompt – If you could visit anyone….


Azalea

If you could visit anyone on the planet right now, who would you go see?

When I read this to myself, my brother Rick came to mind.  We don’t see one another often enough and we had such a good time last summer in Colorado.  I am hoping he is able to come home to Kansas this year! (hint hint) 🙂

Then my mind went to a cousin in law of mine, Michelle.  She lives in the lovely state of Colorado.  She is a bubbly bunch of joy and when I’m with her, I always enjoy the time!  To think of it, I think I might get to see her in a couple of weeks at a family wedding if I am lucky! 🙂  Oh joy!

How about that friend Heather, oh yes, I will be traveling to see her in just 10 short days! Oh how I look forward to the conversations to be had and the hugs from her! The best! Our kiddos will love the opportunity to play once again too!

If I could travel to somewhere I would like to take my spouse and head to somewhere quiet, cooler, and in nature.  Just enjoy hiking and the beauty around us.  Ultimately it would be great if we could have the entire family go with us but not this year.  Our oldest daughter is getting married in September so this will have to wait!

Who or where would you like to travel if you could?  So many wonderful people in the world and so many awesome places to choose!  Love our country life but sometimes spreading our wings helps us appreciate what we have at home even more!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

Public Platform – What I Use My Platform For.


Word of God In Joy or Sadness

This week I was lucky enough to receive some bits of joy.  One came via my mailbox and the other an email. Both of them held words that made me feel joy and special.  They shared with me, they lifted me up, and they took the time to make an impact on my life.  I am thankful for these tidbits of joy to my week.

These two people have made it a point to let me know they enjoy this blog and my openness about life. To be honest, sometimes I wonder if I am sharing too much or if I am craving attention so much that I am using the blog to try to get it.  (Yes, I’m an over thinker, just ask my husband).

But it’s true, where is the line of too much?  I have virtual friends and I have regular friends and with each type there is an assortment of those that share and those that are more closed off.  I’m not saying one is better than the other. I’m just making for discussion and trying to figure out how much is too much.

I want to write with substance, inspiration, and process my way through situations.  I hope to encourage, teach, guide, and just have fun.  This blog has turned out to be so much more than I anticipated.  I have grown in my writing skills, processed thoughts, learned more from The Word, and helped others through #pfwg44thbirthday.  I feel good about this blog and where it has taken me.  Only 42 posts to go and I will achieve a goal as well.  I look forward to what lies ahead for the future of Pushing Forward with Grace.

I guess I will continue to pray about what to write, seek advice from fellow friends, and trust my gut for what words to place upon the screen.  I thank you for joining me in this journey.  May you find much grace in your day!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

 

Fifty-Five


Yellow joy

Fifty-five posts left to write on this blog.  That’s how many are left and I am a little surprised.  It is coming closer to ending this 365 day writing journey.  The time spent sharing my thoughts, trying to inspire, and I hope giving grace are on the downhill slide.

As I wrote that paragraph a small smile came across my face.  The thought of having 365 entries all together, neatly in a book together, will bring me much joy in years to come.  There was a time of grief, inspiration, joy, appreciation, and even disappointments but they all matter.  Each entry had a purpose, even if just for me to work through a simple thing.

I have no idea what I will be writing about in the next fifty-five posts, but I do know one thing, they will be treasures to me.

Grace is a gift,

Julie