A New Year!

A New Year!

As I sit here thinking about 2018 I’m reminded of how freaking hard it was. It was hard y’all. My Uncle had a liver transplant in January and died in October. I haven’t experienced a loss quite like that. My great grandparents passed away in 2010 when I was 21/22 but they had lived long and full lives. Do I miss them? Everyday! But I could rationalize it. Ya know? My Uncle still had a lot of life to live.. I’m shocked that I’m even saying that he died. He.DIED.

However, there were SO many blessings wrapped up in this year and alongside his illness and inevitably the loss of him. So many. God really is so good! BUT, I am so thankful this new year! The possibilities, the positivity, the newness, the wonder, the goals, health & happiness. It’s funny that a new year could invoke so much awe but it does. For me.

This blog began as a way to document my adventures with Jack but a part of me was sad because we didn’t go on many this year. I felt like a fraud almost and unworthy of writing. I’ve come to realize that we did in fact have the biggest adventure of all this past year and that was soaking up every last second with our Uncle. It wasn’t the typical mountain adventure or nature walks or really much of anything outside. Instead it was an adventure of life (and death) which created a dialogue rich in context about heaven and God and angels and Jesus and family and how toxicity doesn’t belong in our lives period not just not in our food and home. It was an adventure of self discovery and realizing just how strong I am… even when I had to peel myself from my sheets some days & that crying in front of my children IS okay.

I am happy to close the door on 2018. So very happy. I look so forward to 2019 and all of the adventures life has planned for us. I am thankful that I learned some lessons like life really is too short to have people in it that don’t care & that negativity is something I can get rid of. I’m thankful for the people in my life that do care unconditionally. I’m thankful for the time I had with my Uncle up to 6 hours before his passing and that I got to tell him everything I wanted to say even if he couldn’t hear me. I’m thankful for even the really awful moments w/ him in the end.. ones that haunt me even BECAUSE what a privilege it was to take care of someone that took care of me.

My hope for us all is that 2019 is kind to us, we have health and happiness, our prayers & dreams come to fruition, we receive grace and give it, that we recognize negative people and things before they wreck havoc in our lives and that we are able to live each day as our last. That we learn to say yes and no after careful thought in terms of our best interest, that we may be a glimmer of hope to someone, and that we have a ton of adventures!

Happy New Year!

Sorry Not Sorry?

Sorry Not Sorry?

Why is everyone so offended these days? Oh, I probably just offended you, oops. I’m not heartless, ignorant or self righteous but I truly don’t get it.

The “Baby It’s Cold Outside” controversy right now is baffling to me. I’ve heard the song a bazillion times in my life and I guess just never sat down to analyze every word. Who has the time between dry shampoo days and soccer games? Am I sad that women (and men for that matter) have been violated and objectified? Of course! Am I sad for someone that’s heard it and feels that way over again? Sure. But what’s the answer? In my humble opinion there isn’t one.

I’m a Christian so I hate the LGBTQ community? I practice Wicca so I’m evil? I had premarital sex so I’m a whore? I had a child out of wedlock (make that two – gasp) and they’re “bastards”? I’m a republican so I hate pro-choice? I’m a democrat so I have no scruples? I eat organic so I’m better than you? I bed share so I’m a pedophile? My child was sleep trained so she was neglected? I’m white so I can’t possibly understand anything because of my privilege? I’m a minority so I must be uneducated and headed to prison? I mean What in The actual Fuck? Need I go on? Okay, I will… I don’t allow my son to see his father so I’m awful? I allow my son to and I’m awful. I’m not Jewish so I can’t embrace Hanukah? I’m not a Christian so you can’t say Christmas you must say happy holidays? I’m on an antidepressant so I’m broken? I cuss so I can’t love Jesus? I support equality so I have no moral compass? I don’t support gay marriage and I have no moral compass? My child has a breakdown in public so I must not be disciplining? I spank my child and CPS needs to be called immediately? Is it not possible to support the police but not support police brutality?

This is an ever changing world and thank God for that. Progress has been made yet there is a long way to go. I still don’t know that being politically correct all of the time is right. I mean honestly, if you feel a certain way in your bones and you don’t communicate like a reasonable person to another reasonable person(s) and you follow politically correct protocol then aren’t we just a bunch of liars? The only way to change is to LEARN from one another. Civilly. You know, because we have made progress? I accidentally cut someone off in line today so I paid for their coffee. I didn’t know if he was a killer, a rapist, gay, a bigot, a father, an asshole but just that he was human. * For the record: had he of been a killer, rapist, or bigot I prob would have flipped him off & sped away while listening to my Christian radio station and calling him every profanity my mouth could muster under my breath or not since Jack said “What the hell is that?” while pointing at a weird bug later on in the day. 😬 * Wait, should I not have called the bug weird? Jesus take the wheel.. I don’t know if that’s on the appropriate list or not. 🤦🏼‍♀️

It seems like I’m making light of horrific things that have happened to people, cultures, societies, etc. and I’m truly not. Injustices piss me off just like they do you. But let that fire inside you drive YOU to be better. Live and let live. Be kind. Don’t be an asshole. Join civilized organizations or groups to make a difference. Peacefully protest for change. Make your voice be heard. You just don’t have to condemn and judge others to do so. We are ALL a work in progress. We have ALL been mistreated. Guaranteed. And pain is pain. We are ALL working through trauma of some sort. Because we are ALL human. ✌🏻

Edit: those that have sexually and/or physically assaulted, verbally and/or mentally abused, etc. ANY man, woman, or child should absolutely be criminalized or rehabilitated based on the case. I am in NO way saying that that is okay because it is NOT and if you’ve read my other blogs or know my story you’d know that to be true.

* Featured pic was used from quizlady.com

“My cancer is back” …

“My cancer is back” …

My uncle (was like my dad) had cancer in his liver and some lesions in various other areas. He did treatments over the course of a year or so and it went away. Yay, right? Yes! But then, because of the treatment and other issues leading up to that in years prior, he needed a liver transplant. This wasn’t incredibly shocking because we new he would eventually need one but what was shocking was when we received a call last December saying “You’ve been moved to the top of the list, we think we have a match and come in now!” That’s enough to make your head spin in and of itself.

We went in 3 times, he was prepped and at the last minute the match wasn’t a match after all. But in January he was matched. It was a miracle. A hard one knowing that someone had to die for him to ultimately live but a miracle none the less. They anticipated he’d need to stay with me for 6 weeks post op. He defied those odds and stayed at my house for a WEEK and was released. So amazing! An answered prayer.

Of course there were some issues with meds and figuring out his new normal but he was healthy and continued to surprise not only us – his family – but the doctors. The first 3 months are the scariest and he was passing with flying colors. But then he started not feeling too well; he was getting more and more tired, he’d have unexplained pain, etc. but again we just thought this was part of the process and didn’t expect what was coming next.

At his 6 month follow up in July he underwent an mri. And that’s when life changed. He called like usual to fill me in and said “Well, the cancer is back, my liver is covered and has metastasized to vital organs like the lungs, etc.” WHAT?! How can this be?! My heart broke in that moment and 3 and a half short months later he died. Today is the one month anniversary of his funeral actually.

Death is odd. It can be beautiful for sweet old souls that pass in their sleep and then there’s the ugly; babies dying of cancer, horrific accidents, etc. The thing the two have in common are infinitely knowing you won’t see that person again earth side. And although I’ve had my fair share of breakdowns am I forever going to remain in a state of disbelief?

Have you ever been so lonely when you’re in a crowded room? I have. About 10 years ago my heart broke for the same uncle and I was so angry and desperate for God to help him. I cried out and pled and even though I knew in my heart that God does things in His timing my heart was shattered anyway and I was angry at God for about 2 years. Two loooooong years. I forced myself to pray, I had honest convos that went like: “God, I love you but I’m so angry at you. I don’t want to be but I am.” “WHY won’t you DO SOMETHING?!” And then some convos that conveyed my mastery in profanity. 🤬

I refuse to do that this time. I realized that God was with him every step of the way and He did help him in His time. And now this. I’m clinging to God with all of my might because if I don’t I can’t be the mom, friend, family member, human that I need and want to be.

So…. how am I dealing with this death that seems so unfair? By watching Christmas movies with my love bug and putting up my Christmas tree w/ enormous lights of course. 🤣🎄

I’m fully aware that Thanksgiving is weeks away and I give zero effs. 🤷🏼‍♀️ The holidays will be hard this year. This year has been hard. So if Christmas decorations bring us happiness then I’m down. I’d love to hibernate in my bed until I feel “normal” again but I refuse to. Instead I will honor him by taking care of my health even more so and by being the best me I can be because anything less than that wouldn’t be fair to my family, friends, him, and myself.

If you have had a loss and feel all alone – I see you. If you are angry at God – I understand you. If you are trying to find your happy in the midst of a storm – my heart is with you. ❤️

Be kind. It’s simple.

Be kind. It’s simple.

Recently Jack started Play Therapy. I’ve questioned whether or not to discuss this here but I’ve decided to for two reasons. 1) When a child needs help we help them. 2) Because I want him to grow up with the tools to express himself in a healthy way, problem solve, and have healthy relationships.

Backstory: He has been through some traumatic events. I tried diligently to shield him from them but that isn’t always possible. I was at the library at our co-op one day and he pushed me (new behavior that breaks my heart) and a friend w/o judgement told me about this book.

It was if God himself placed her there at that very moment and I immediately checked it out. As I was reading it spoke about the brain… all about the brain and how we as parents have to tune into it. We are all a little traumatized so this book helps adults heal too. If we are healed then we are better equipped to help our littles heal. However, we needed some more help.

* Let me say here quickly that my child isn’t “broken” and why I feel the need to say that makes me sick because I’m so against the stigma that comes with therapy. *

He has a friend, my best friends son, and there were (are) times he would almost bully him even though he loves him so much. They’re 4… well 4 and 5 now as they both just had birthdays! 🎉 Where did he learn this behavior? I’d always been patient, I’d always been nurturing, I practice gentle parenting, we play outside, I’m hands on, I’m home with him….. you get my drift. Then I realized two things: another child had been aggressive towards him and used words we didn’t allow (not an excuse but truth) and he was having BIG emotions that he was unable to verbalize to me. Our schedule had been off and there were a couple of life changes that happened but still – where did my sweet boy go? This was beginning to affect our relationship and other close relationships we have. My true friends didn’t treat him any different, were so very supportive of us both, and were willing to help me help him anyway I could. There were a select few that chose to talk about him and me as if we were a joke. Quite disgusting.

We’ve been twice now to play therapy and by reading the book there has been some improvement! I can’t wait to see how he flourishes moving forward with play therapy and by being around those that truly love him.

This is my goal for him. ⬆️ I’m not a quitter and we will win this together.

My goal for myself. ⬆️ And I think so many other parents should take note of it too.

Thursday, we had play therapy and then that same night issues arose with a couple of people I know unbeknownst to him. Friday, probably after a day of processing from therapy he brought up a hurtful event that happened to him from a friend. We talked through it over and over until he was comfortable enough w/ our discussion to go to sleep. Unfortunately, I had to discuss that adults can be mean to each other too. His sweet self said “mommy, I don’t want anyone to be mean to you.” I explained I felt the same for him and that it’s important to be the friend he wants in return.

Man, we certainly can learn a lot from children.

And what a great quote for adults too! ⬆️

Ever feel like a mom failure?

Ever feel like a mom failure?

No? Just me? Almost daily? 😭

Lately we’ve been off. The house is in disarray, our schedules (don’t hate – we thrive on them) have been cray, we’ve had extras come up and life happens and I’m tired and when my house is crazy I feel crazy and… gasp. All of these things are true BUT we are also at a stage of testing boundaries, sharing those BIG emotions LOUDLY, and if I want to be real – defiance. Straight up. It makes me lose my shit patience on the inside, makes me mad and sad and want to scream and cry all at the same time.

This babe is amazing. He’s hilarious and quick witted and charming and cute and smart and creative and adventurous (hence the name of the blog) and really really really sweet and cute… wait I already said that but I’ll say it again for the peeps in the back – CUTE! 😍

He’s also strong willed, determined, and quite sure of himself. Qualities I absolutely love but they can also be tiring for this momma and those near and dear to us. My goal will never be to extinguish that fire!

Even as adults we have to be reminded and recenter ourselves. We have to go back to the basics and build on what’s worked before. For example: with us – he didn’t really talk until he was 2. No delays and could comprehend everything just didn’t talk. He made sounds and signed and that’s how I knew his needs but there were days that he had huge emotions and literally couldn’t voice them to me so he bit me. My knee jerk reaction could of been ugly but I had to pause for a minute and remind myself. I started acknowledging his emotions… you must be sad, upset, frustrated, etc. and I ignored the biting. By the Grace of God and God alone ignoring the “bad” behavior worked well for us.

When things are out of whack or we are going through a developmental leap (I don’t even think they’re called that at his age but ya know) I have to go back to the basics. I could be filled with mommy guilt and beat myself us but tonight I choose to give myself grace.

I pulled out this book at bedtime and we read it. I can not tell you how much I love this book. I change the wording around a bit in some areas but it’s all of the things I say only this book has a way of letting them HEAR it.

And now I’m off to drink a glass of well deserved wine. Cheers.

Mental Health Awareness Month (May)

Mental Health Awareness Month (May)

Growing up I only thought depression existed. My mom battled with it and still does. I always just loved life. I was and still am an early riser, “sad” folky music makes me happy, even mundane things like laundry make me feel great (when they’re finished and hung up… I mean who really likes laundry? I could go on.

And we have all felt and dealt with our fair (unfair) share of heartbreak and aches. I remember dealing with something traumatic that lingered for a few years and went to the doctor. She suggested I took Lexapro. I was terrified and mortified. I couldn’t be depressed! That’s for broken people or so I thought then. But you know what? I was a little broken. Praying, exercising, eating healthy, enjoying my one healthy child (I hadn’t had Jack yet) wasn’t “fixing” me. And I needed some help. I took it for 2 1/2 years and I have zero shame in that NOW. I got pregnant with Jack and prayed I wouldn’t get PPD. And I didn’t! 🙌🏻 BUT so.many.moms.do.! And are afraid to reach out for help because of the nasty stigma that goes along with that. I’ll post again on PPD because I think it’s an important topic but this post is about something different.

Bipolar disorder.

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Sometimes, a person with severe episodes of mania or depression also has psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to match the person’s extreme mood. For example: Someone having psychotic symptoms during a manic episode may believe she is famous, has a lot of money, or has special powers. Someone having psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may believe he is ruined and penniless, or that he has committed a crime. As a result, people with bipolar disorder who also have psychotic symptoms are sometimes misdiagnosed with schizophrenia.

People with bipolar disorder may also misuse alcohol or drugs, have relationship problems, or perform poorly in school or at work. Family, friends and people experiencing symptoms may not recognize these problems as signs of a major mental illness such as bipolar disorder.

Bipolar or any mental illness really coupled with substance abuse is scary. It’s the feeling of waiting for a bomb to go off. Never knowing what that person is capable of and fear taking over the amount of love, compassion, hope, & patience that once existed for that person. It breaks up families.  They aren’t in control. How could they be? And no amount of reasoning, pleading, reassurance, etc. will work.

I don’t struggle with bipolar disorder or substance abuse but I’ve been directly effected by it. And it’s awful beyond words. In one study for example (Psychology Today) of 314 people, 8.4% were capable of or had committed violent crimes when substance abuse was present as opposed to 1.0-1.5% of those that just had the disorder. That’s quite a difference, right? It’s not only awful for the loved ones but for the person themselves living with this disease(s) and something must be done.

A 2009 DOC study revealed,

https://www.ok.gov/odmhsas/Substance_Abuse/Oklahoma_Drug_and_Mental_Health_Courts/index.html

that 55% of incarcerated offenders with some form of mental illness had been convicted of only non-violent offenses. Among the prison population, over 40% were for drug and alcohol offenses. Putting people with mental illness or addiction behind bars is not effective in either reducing crime or helping these individuals recover from their illness. Also, for someone on a prison mental health unit, the cost jumps to approximately $175 per day as opposed to $48. Providing appropriate mental health services to someone in the community to keep them from entering the criminal justice system costs approximately $15/day!

Certainly, I am NOT saying that those that have VPO’s for example, violate them, etc. shouldn’t have to have consequences. They absolutely should. Nor am I saying that someone that commits a violent crime shouldn’t be penalized. I am saying that if that individual has a mental illness along with substance abuse rehabilitation should be looked at first. Mental illness NEEDS to be treated. And the stigma that goes along with it needs to disappear.

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help/index.shtml (mental illness)

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline (mental illness and substance abuse)

http://www.thehotline.org/blog/get-help-today/ (domestic violence)

Somethings you just can’t plan for.

Somethings you just can’t plan for.

As a parent we are usually going 90-nothing. Whether it be SAHM’s or working moms we are always thinking of our littles. We do the best we can and hope and pray that our precious babes aren’t going to be in counseling later in life because we screw them up. I mean seriously can I get an Amen?!

We are loving, nurturing, put our needs last, rarely get to pee by ourselves, teach our children, hope we make them laugh, dance it out when we are having hard days (I can’t be the only one that dances to Elmo, etc.) We pray for and over our children and ourselves. And when we slip up we hope by the Grace of God that we make up for it 10 fold.

Our toddlers have BIG emotions and can’t yet verbalize them. So we have a lot of patience and loving arms and soft laps to protect them, guide them, and try to help them make sense of things. But what happens when we, as parents, can’t make sense of them?

Today, my friend of 26 years lost her first baby, her dog. He would have been 12 this summer so he had lived a wonderful life. He passed away peacefully and even though we saw it coming no amount of understanding can prepare you for a loss. Especially when children are involved.

I went to pick him up this morning to come to my house while my friend worked so that I could monitor him. Jack was excited to see him. She was relieved he wouldn’t be alone. It was supposed to be okay. Only it wasn’t. I walked in and he was gone.

I had to call her at work and tell her. I broke her heart into a bazillion pieces. And that broke mine. Luckily Jackson didn’t come in with me (and before we call DHS he was completely safe ☺️) but I did have to return to the car and tell him too.

I rarely cry. That’s not because I don’t have feelings I’m just super great at bottling them up. 😬 But I was crying and there was no hiding it no matter how badly I wanted to. I wasn’t prepared to talk about this with him. And as a mom I try to be prepared for just about everything. But today I didn’t feel the mom guilt for crying because I want him to not only know but see that it is OKAY to cry and BE sad and NOT understand. I want him to have empathy.

This post isn’t about me and Jackson or shouldn’t be but about my friend and her loss. Not only did she need to grieve BUT she had to explain to her 3 year old what happened. While holding back tears, she took him for ice cream and then had to explain that when they got home a piece of their puzzle was no more. He knew he was sick and she’d been subtly trying to prepare him but how much preparing can you give to a child especially when you as the parent aren’t prepared yourself?

Last night, her precious child “read” him a book to make him feel better. I think it worked. ❤️ And gave him some extra love…How precious are their hearts?!

This is life and bound to happen but these are the kind of days that break my heart for these babies. Not to mention his momma! 💔

Today’s adventure was a somber one. But it’s real and I don’t want to just show our ‘perfect’ days. We can learn from both kinds, grow, and learn to be okay with doing our best even through tears.