Past moments in time are never that far away


Dad & MOM

The past few days my parents have been on my mind. Maybe because Facebook has that deal that shows you past posts or just because it’s July.  I know August is around the corner.

At lunch on Sunday with my entire family I was laughing and joking.  I made a comment about moving in with my kids when I was old and the son-in-laws weren’t too sure about that. I started to say I understood that I wasn’t sure I could live with my parents and it brought me back to the day my Dad died.

 

That morning, while we were alone in his hospital room, he told me that he needed to take me up on my offer.  The offer I had given him a few days before about moving in with us.  I had forgotten that, which surprises me.   I couldn’t stop my eyes from filling with tears but I gathered myself quickly I think.  I had a beautiful baby boy in my arms to look at and hide my tears.  I felt my husband’s hand on my leg for reassurance as well.

Dying Alone

While dancing and singing with my other baby grandson later,  in my home office, I saw the pictures of both my parents from various times in their lives.  The display has a photo of each of my parents holding me when I was a baby, I told G how that was me and continued to dance.  My mother loved to dance.  When I danced with my father at my second wedding we glided across the floor and if I shut my eyes I can still feel it.

The memories are here  in my mind and next to my heart.  Although they may fade they are still inside me.  Tears may have fallen on this day but I’m glad I remembered that memory with my Dad.

Until next time,

Julie

A Lifetime of Words & Spiral Notebooks


Five years of writing.  Three different blogs.  An array of topics, emotions, and so much I might not have shared unless behind a computer screen.  I’ve invited people into my life through the world wide web to walk with me down not only challenging times but joyous moments.

My following isn’t huge by any means, which I am just fine with.  The writing isn’t about drawing attention to myself or my family, it isn’t about making my mountains bigger than yours or my adventures sound more thrilling.  Writing for me is a process, that’s what I have learned in five years of blogging.

It’s always been there.  The writing.   I recall when I was struggling as a child due to my parent’s divorce,  the school counselor told me to write my feelings down.  I used a spiral notebook but the spiral part was on top.  You know like the one below.

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I have no clue where that notebook is today or what I wrote in it.  I’m sure it is filled with much heartache, drama, and anger.  The teen years, some of those notebooks are still in my attic tucked away.  I’m sure my children will learn a few new things upon my death as they go through my things. Those I know will be filled with drama and poems and so much girl/boy heartbreak stuff!

I always liked to start with a very clean fresh piece of paper.  If I messed up I would have to start over, I REALLY disliked scratching out anything.  It’s like the page needed to look perfect although it was filled with the most imperfect things!

My adult journals became ones that looked pretty on the outside.  I always preferred lined pages and some had bible verses or flowers on them.   They too were filled with ordinary daily events, the birth of children, job changes, moving, a marriage, and the failure of one.  The realization of being traumatized as a child not once  but on two different occasions.  The hard times of remarriage and raising daughters through the teen years.  So much written and all included joy as well.  I don’t go back and read them much.  Some are best kept locked away.

I still like a spiral type book to write in even if just for my grocery lists or to do lists.  I don’t journal much anymore on regular paper though.  It’s mostly right here on the blog or I just tuck it away in the crevices called me.

So many things in five years have happened in my life.  I haven’t even blogged about them all.  I suppose I tend to write about the things that I need to process and most of the time my joys aren’t written.  I used to do that more, write about my joys.  But then my joys went to the wayside.  I feel some days more are present now and I see a tiny inkling of myself coming back. There’s a post about all that in my drafts.  Perhaps soon I’ll share that one.

Until next times I hope my posts have helped someone in five years.  I know it’s helped me. Perhaps that was God’s intent… to only help me.

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

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My Space & The Old Green Patio Table


There was a little area of my home that I like to think was “mine.”  The area that gave me some peace in days of chaos,  strength to build for the new endeavors of the day ahead, and just a place to breathe.

This space included an old small green patio table and one matching chair from 2001 and a porch swing with a faded pillow on it.  If you could see the snapshot in my mind of it you would see  that Better Homes & Garden would never have it in one of their issues.  But it was mine.  It was a slice of a few things that represented my life, apparently much more than I ever even thought.

The worn table represented the first piece of furniture I bought on my own, after a divorce.  Since purchasing it I would find myself looking at  gave me a strength or push of sorts I guess. To get through each day.  Looking at it made me feel proud that I could do that single life thing and buy this measly piece of furniture.  Fast forward 16 years later and I see how I made it through on the other side, now married, and raising my family with lessons learned from that life experience.

The set is not in style, not even a color I enjoy, and only one of the chairs remain. (But those chairs were the most comfortable dang things ever!) Oh sure, I had a summer tablecloth on it, along with a fire burner thing that was my Mom’s but that was about it.

 

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The porch swing was a gift from my husband and daughter one Christmas and I love it. That’s actually where I sat to re-fuel myself.  To calm myself.  To look out over the sunsets.  I had my husband install it so I could see the sunsets in the west and be near my lilac bushes.

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When I sat on the porch swing I never did sit like you’re suppose to.  I always sat with my legs up and my back against the arm of the swing.  The faded non-outdoor pillow supported my back and kept it from digging into the chains and the arm.  Comfort.  That’s what I had with my porch swing and it’s faded pillow.

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This is no longer a place for me.  One small moment in time has changed that.  It took me two days to be able to even walk into that area.

Some may think I’m over dramatic and that’s fine. Just keep it to yourself please.  But when the only image you continue to see is the one that sent fear through your body it is what it is.  

The most of the space has been disassembled and moved.  I had already thought of doing this of course but never mentioned it.  My daughter made it a point to tell her father herself in casual conversation.  I guess great minds do think alike! 🙂 Her feeling safe in her own home is the most important thing.

I’ve already been thinking of ways to update the post divorce table and chair. I can’t bear to part with it, it stands for something in my mind!   Repainting and recovering it, making it fresh and updated.  Will the image fade even more then?  Will this help or is it a band-aid of sorts.

I’ve had trauma in my life before.  Much worse than what I experienced recently.  The more processing I do I find that I believe the reason it may be so prominent this time is because my child was involved.  That the involvement of my child and my own experiences only enhances the magnitude in my mind.

So.  For now. I will eat my breakfast inside or on my back deck.  I will  ponder the refurbishing of the post divorce table and perhaps eventually swing once more as the sun goes down.

Julie

 

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The Struggles of Writing to Process


pushingforwardwithgraceI’ve said it often that I process things through writing.  So to not be sure if I should write about my experience this past week or not is hard for me.  There is a section of me that longs to just write about it, to aid in the discharging of the yuck that is now within me.  But then there is the section of me that thinks it could cause more harm than good.  That exposing the inner self of me would in someway put my family in danger.  Exposing our lives and experiences might make us vulnerable, more vulnerable.

The few people who know of the experience have probably not thought another second about it.  They listened while I told the story, they empathized with me, and now moved on. As well they should.  But to me, little ol’ me, it made an imprint on my inner psyche.

It’s been six days and honestly I am better.  I suppose by six weeks it will be a faded moment in my life.  A story that perhaps we can someday laugh over. Okay, maybe not that but something similar.

In the world we live in we are always at risk or in harm’s way.  Some of us just never wrap our heads around it in daily living.  Especially when we live a pretty splendid life in the luxuries that we do.  Me included.  Oh sure, on occasion I’ll feel uncomfortable in an area or in a circumstance but nothing ever fearing for my life or my daughter’s.

Now that I’ve experienced a small taste of  that type of fear, primarily in the daughter area, I find myself questioning myself.  Questioning the choices that involve our home, our life, our abilities.

That’s a small area of the struggle.  The thought of being somewhat violated, no matter how innocent it may seem to some, and I’m sitting here questioning myself! All I did was sleep in a bit and plan to have a great summer day with my kiddo!

More to come on this topic I’m sure……

Julie

 

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

Writing Prompts – Write About a Moment When…


I was scrambling to write a post for today.   I opened my writing prompts book for help.  This is what I chose for today. I hope it helps someone. The strength is present, just dig deeper for it.

Write about a moment when you felt proud of yourself.

It was May 1989.  I was 18 years old.  There was a large crowd of people in the stands, most I didn’t even know.  But there was an almost two-year old little girl in the crowd.  She’s part of why I felt so proud of myself.  See it was my high school graduation and that little girl was my daughter.  Walking across that stage meant many things to me.  The journey to that day is one I’d like to share. 1987-88

Walking the halls my junior year of high school, with my stomach growing each week wasn’t as much of a proud feeling as walking across the graduation stage.  There were the stares, the talk, the questions, the scandal, the rejection.  There were supportive and nice folks as well, some that stepped up changed not only my life but my daughter’s as well.  I’m grateful for all of them.

I didn’t get in this circumstance by myself but I did take responsibility, even if it was a struggle a lot of days.  Having a large high school full of students and teachers know daily what you did with someone else  at such a young age wasn’t an easy pill to swallow. But I did it because life mattered.  That child I was carrying mattered.

I wasn’t a martyr, I wasn’t good at it, and I didn’t deserve a medal for continuing high school while pregnant.  In fact, I wasn’t the first and I wasn’t the last pregnant teen there. I wasn’t the only one that year either.

My gift was not only delivering a healthy, beautiful little baby girl in June 1988.  One of my gifts was the ability to finish high school, walk across the stage to obtain my diploma, and show that two year old it can be done.  That there is strength within, even during the hardest of days.  Also that dwelling on the mistake doesn’t make life better, but learning from it does.

One of the proudest moments in my life was walking across a stage to accept a piece of paper that I worked hard for.  That gave me and my little family opportunities that I might not have had if I had quit high school.  I had good support that I needed during this part of my life, that made a huge difference.

So.  If you are reading this and you are a young teen that is pregnant or know someone that is a teen mother, or are one yourself I want you to know something.  That life within in you or sitting on your lap matters, and so do YOU.  You matter more than you know.  Take the time to find strength, ask for help, stop and take deep breaths often.  Don’t dwell on your mistake, but learn from it.  Love your child.  Love yourself.  I’m praying for you and your family.

Grace is a gift,
Julie

To My 25 Year Old Self


You probably noticed this isn’t a Weight-less Wednesday post.  I decided I wanted to post on Friday for my Weight-less weekly post.  So check back to see a recap of the month of February then.

 

To my 25 year old self I’d like to write you a letter if I could.  This written by you at 44 years old  with more wisdom, less attitude, more wrinkles, better perspective, ongoing learning, and reaching to make a difference daily.  

The life you are living now, one day it will seem so far away in the past that you sometimes wonder if it really happened.

The controlling and severe person that is exhibited often from you, she finds a more calm and loving place to land.

The depth of your faith, it grows.  It changes for the better, it becomes a solid foundation for you.

There are things you believe now that you will not believe when you are 44 and it will be for the better.

Read the bible and study it.  

You will continue to love music.  It will still take you away or bring you back to reality!

Save money now.  Start now seriously!

You will be a Mother a third time. I know, that one you are arguing with me on right now!

When you are 44 you will find a happiness you longed for your whole life, one that you only dreamed about.

You will come to remember something so extremely horrible that your life seems upside down for a year or so. But you make it through, you really do.  You come out on the other side stronger more loved  and more free.

One of your babies makes you a grandma.

Your children will challenge you, love you, defy you, and then come back to a place of adult relationships to appreciate what you did for them.

Between now and 44 you will learn so many new things, especially in your 40’s.

One day or rather several days, you will go to town with no makeup on or hair washed and completely styled. (Honest)

Be proud of yourself now.   Be patient with yourself now.  Try new things now.  Trust yourself now.

The self-esteem that is often low, it ignites into something not 100% but much better just the same.

The pain you will feel in a few years will pass and God gives you what you need as always.

You become very good at the career you chose to start last year, so good it last a very long time.

Get healthy now, it will be SO much easier I promise.  Learn new things too.

The guilt you feel in most circumstances when you make a choice, it will never totally go away. But you will learn how to decipher what is real and what is from past experiences.

Raising your children is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but it is completely worth it.  Even on the hardest days. I promise.

Respect more.  Be critical less.  Lift up that special someone, don’t tear them down.

One day you will drink more water, eat yogurt and apples, and it will become a daily occurrence for you.  All because of one person who enters your life.

I could write so much more to you but for now I will let you drink in these tidbits of growing older. They are all blessings that help make you who you are.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time?  Or perhaps write a letter to the yourself in years to come?

 

 

44. That’s the Number for this Challenge!


First of all, I expect all my friends and family to comment below or on my Facebook page when I share this with ideas! Help needed! 🙂 

You know that friend I tend to mention often over here.  The one that got me started on this 365 day writing experiment?  The one that challenges me often, loves me unconditionally, and brings objective perspective to my life?  Yea.  Heather. She’s the one.  Well, she did something cool for birthday.    The entire saga is below!

There’s the post that started it all “ce-le-brate good times, come on.”

There’s the post of her results of finishing those steps!  “The Mighty climb of 39.”

There is the post called “Insert big exploding heart” that tells of the results of inspiring others.

Here’s the deal, I turn 44 on December 26th.  I need some help, I need to figure out a way to do what Heather did. To give to others, inspire others, and involve me giving of myself!  

Disclaimer right here folks!  I WILL NOT climb steps or run.  I won’t. I’m sorry.  My husband would probably be giving me CPR or better yet call 911!  SO!  Here’s a little of what I like/do. Throw me some ideas, time is running out!  Inspire me so I can inspire others and have a good excuse to get off the couch on December 26th! 🙂 

I enjoy…….

planning events, mission work, fundraisers, gatherings, and cooking.

outreach work, food bank, elderly folk, and sharing kindness.

bringing awareness to adoption, walking for exercise, and donating time or other things to those in need.

Random Acts of Kindness is great, but I like to do that all year-long periodically.  So I’d like to try something a little different for my birthday.  So, how can I inspire others to join me in this already busy times of year?  

Ready, Set, Go!  Inspire me with your ideas!

 

44th Birthday

Grace is a gift,

Julie