Friday, August 3, 2018

Long overdue update.

I'm keenly aware that many months have passed since I have sat down to write here.  Honestly, my mom's house fire wrecked me, among other very private and painful circumstances that our family has been trying to navigate.  But I always want to try to sit down and keep this space open for Nora and Braden as they grow.  The updates I provide and the thoughts I key here are only ever for them.  

So, speaking of my pre-teen children...Nora and Braden are doing really well.  They finished school and we have totally enjoyed our summer doing close to nothing.  We had no real plans, only our usual Michigan trip which we're currently driving home from as I type in the backseat of Chris' new truck.  We have been soaking in our new home, new backyard, each other and the calm that sleeping in late affords us.  We have made a couple of spontaneous day trips to Chicago for soccer and baseball games which has been a lot of fun.  This summer, especially, I feel really grateful that the kids are bigger.  It makes doing things like traveling together so much easier and when you're in the thick of raising babies or toddlers you never think you'll get to these days of ease.  But here we are and it's been so great. 

August has been home and doing well since my last post!  He has had a few cardiac appointments that have all been very positive.  There are no significant changes to his sweet little heart at this time so another procedure hasn't even been scheduled.  We just celebrated his FIRST birthday which was overwhelming to say the least.  Just writing it takes my breath away.  My sister has returned to work a couple days a week and I feel so lucky that she lets me keep Gus on Fridays.  I love him more than I knew it was even possible to love!
In January Nora had an emergency appendectomy.  She healed very quickly from her surgery and was back to herself in no time.  She received A or AB honor roll throughout her entire 6th grade year which we were really proud of.  She learned her instrument (the alto sax) very quickly and has also enjoyed band more than I thought she would!  

Braden was also on the honor roll throughout the year.  He became really good at Math, has taken an interest in art and still LOVES basketball.  He's so committed, in fact, he plays outside every day-usually alone, practicing his drills methodically.  I'm so thankful that his interest has turned into a passion because he drives himself every day to be better and better.  I have a feeling we'll be traveling this year as he plays, which I look forward to doing.  

Chris and I vacationed to Sedona again in the late winter, right before Spring.  It was an incredible trip and although we always miss the kids when we go, I'm SO thankful that we take this time for ourselves and our marriage.  It refreshes us.  It gives us a new outlook on almost everything and when we come home we are just overall much better...parents, friends, coworkers, etc.  It's just a nice and needed break after the harsh Illinois winters.  

I'm still working my lip business and am loving it.  I have exceeded so many goals that I set for myself and it has been really good for me to have something of my own that I can fully enjoy and feel good about. At the end of November some of my team will meet up in Nashville for a weekend of training and fun which I'm already really looking forward to.  

 I have spent several weeks doing yoga, preparing for a teacher training course which ended up getting cancelled.  I'm super disappointed but am still practicing every day in hopes that when the time is right, I will still be able to see that happen in my life.  I have spent so much time on self care and I'm SO looking forward to studying, practicing and learning all I can about our bodies, minds, spirits.  I have still been running every day, usually 5-6 miles.  It's the best thing for my emotional being and I'm really grateful that my physical body has stayed strong enough to allow it.  Speaking of, in December I finally asked my Dr to put me on something for daily migraine relief.  I was waking up with them for 6 months straight and now that we know that it's *always* going to be an issue due to the ATP1a2 gene, I wanted reprieve.  Thankfully, now I have maybe 2 migraines in a month.  It's been physically life changing.
There have been other events that have been life changing in recent months as well.  Some of them mentally, alot of them emotionally, and most of them spiritually. 

It's no secret to anyone reading here that our country has been in a really awful place for the last several months.  No matter what side of the fence you stand on politically there have been some life changing events occur that will no doubt leave us in the middle of a history I believe we will all one day want to forget.  Recently our president implemented a law that separated children from their families as they were trying to enter our country at the border.  Our president later retracted this "law" but not before hundreds of kids were sent all over the United States without any connection to their mothers or fathers or other family members.  Though some have now been reunited, some have still not been located.

This entire issue (and so many others) have stirred up intense emotion for me because the church culture that I was once so deeply a part of has really behaved badly if I'm being honest.  The label of Christian is no longer something I associate myself with unless I can preface with an explanation of my own views, morals and ideas that no longer align with the things I was taught and even believed for so long.  The rhetoric, the verbiage, the awful ways that I am seeing Christians behave is intensely shameful.

 I'm having a hard time looking back on the last several years of my life and reliving the hurtful things people have said and done to me who also claimed to be Christians.  And I really do understand that we are all human and are, in turn, incredibly flawed.  I just wish that some of the behavior that was very intentional and also so hurtful could be just that and not also be excused or covered by a blanket of righteousness in the name of Christ.  

  Every day I have to try and make a conscious effort to let it all go but every day it is really hard.
Some of my closest 'church friends' stopped coming around when Chris and I moved in together.  After Mabel died, they didn't call.  In fact, as Mabel was sick and dying- no one from the church came knocking.   Instead, after my child died I received direct messages from the pastor's wife telling me that she was praying for my other children because the things I was allowing them to believe and the way I was allowing them to think were so sinful and disgraceful I would surely burn in hell for it.  But because they were children, she'd pray they would be spared and one day know the truth.  This disgusting behavior pushed me further from the church (and, when needed, it's 'people') and deeper into the arms of the true and living God.  For that, I am thankful.

This summer I have spent most evenings walking and reconnecting with a childhood friend.  The ease of our friendship coupled by things we have in common, or even things we don't necessarily agree on have broadened the scope of my thinking even more.  I feel challenged in my own personal growth and have expanded beyond some of the relationships I held for so long.  In turn, I realized that I have been holding onto the actions of others and assuming their intention was to hurt me when, really, I had no idea if that was the case because I never made it a point to simply ask them.  Part of that was the exhaustion of grief and not wanting to have any conversation that would take up any more energy than I had to give.  But part of it was just so painful I didn't want to confront it at all.  But, over the the last couple of weeks, with the ease of summer and the peace I have felt, I decided to reach out to some of those people and have had good, honest conversations, all which were difficult to start but all that ended in forgiveness and (hopefully) positive relationships moving forward.

 Let me just say, carrying that kind of pain without confronting it was hard for me because I cared SO deeply about these people at one point or another.  I did value their friendships  I did miss them in my life.  I absolutely think we need to set boundaries for ourselves with people who DO intentionally hurt us and in time, we can go back and reevaluate those relationships or... we can choose not to.  After several years and a lot of soul searching (and so much time inside of my own mind), I felt like it was time to at least have a conversation regardless of the outcome.  I do want to also say, I think that people grow and change and in doing so, they can simply grow apart.  Choices are made and things happen and sometimes that's just that. 
I have mastered self care and I invest my energy (in every form) where I feel it will best suit me to do so.  And it has taken me a VERY long time to learn this skill but again, I feel super grateful to know myself well enough to know what I need to do to help my mind, body, heart, and spirit. 
So we are a couple hours into an 8 hour truck ride home from 10 days in Northern Michigan.  Braden has already puked once (he gets car sick often) so this should be an interesting drive. 
By far, this was the most perfect trip for our family, and SO needed.  The weather was incredible (70's), the sky was so blue, we ate such good food (and too much ice cream), we unplugged from politics and just about every social media outlet and really plugged into each other.  I walked the hills where the pines grow along the trees and the air cleared my lungs like the deepest breath I've taken all year.  But, I have never been away from August this long and boy do I miss him!

Many things have changed in the last several months but so many of those changes are positive.  Of course, there are the really, really hard things that have changed the dynamic of our lives as well but I am so proud of the way our little family has pulled back from things that no longer bring positivity and that we are continually moving in the direction that I believe God has planned for us to go.  Sometimes that means others don't join us in the journey and that is something I have to really allow myself to explore and accept.  So I'm trying....

Photos to come (at some point).  And hopefully more writing, too. 
But for now?  Sleep.

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