Monday, November 24, 2014

Single at the Holiday Table

From where I stand, I face being single at the holiday gatherings with misgivings.

1) I do not want anyone's pity or handouts.
2) I am thankful my children are grown, healthy and living their own lives.

3) I am comfortable with my life choices and thankful I am free from my past.
4) I do not fit into the typical family mold but thankful my sisters, daughter and parents include me with their plans.
5) I find it difficult to put into words how much it hurts to see their happy families doing so well. Don't misunderstand, I am thankful they are happy and together all the time.  But sometimes, I am sad because I don't have what they have. I am human, too.

It is difficult to be the 3rd wheel at gatherings or always feel like the tagalong.  I grew up the oldest of three girls and my younger sisters often tagged along with me. So now I have an inkling of how they felt back then.

Being 44, divorced, single and 'MIMI' to three little children is my description this holiday season. But I should add to that these words as well -
FREE from abuse,
FREE to make decisions,
Free to be Employed full-time
and own my own business.

 I am blessed beyond what I ever imagined.

In all things, be thankful and stay focused on your goal. Always choose to see the blessings even on the darkest days.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Are You Prepared?

Be Prepared - That is a phrase that I have heard all my life. Some associate it with Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts (personally this is where I learned it), but the phrase applies with our faith as well.

We must always be prepared to do the right thing.  If you are not sure what the right thing is, ask someone you trust to help you figure it out.

In business, we have a responsibility as Christians to do the right thing and represent our faith in every aspect of the work we do. We should speak the right way, and make authentic business choices that reflect our beliefs. Every business has a return policy and we have to honor that and not push the owners around and criticize them for not fixing our problem if we don't get our way. You should not wait 2 months after you order something to contact the business and demand they replace the item and then get nasty with them when they are unable to help you. I have seen this happen recently with a friend in the monogramming business and it has left lots of hurt feelings. Do the right thing, but do it the right way within their policy.

In personal life, we have a choice to live out our faith and beliefs in everything we do. Whether it is how you treat a server, a cashier or the clerk at the DMV, they are all humans, they all have feelings and responsibilities and deserve our respect and kindness when we deal with them.  Everyone has a bad day at times and please choose to be kind even when you have to disagree with someone.

Recently I was at a local restaurant and watched 8-9 middle school boys come in after school and take up a large table being very loud. While having a bunch of young people in a restaurant is not a bad thing, when they come into a restaurant being noisy, loud and saying they have no money while demanding water and chips/salsa from the server, it was most definitely a bad thing.  Over half these boys said they either had no money on them or only had 1-3 dollars. I felt so sorry for the servers having to deal with them.  But I have to brag on the restaurant because they handled it all in stride and stayed professional when I personally wanted to tell the boys to go home. 

We as adults are not so different than those students.  Some adults continue to believe that if they complain they will get their way. Many adults believe that the world owes them something.and do anything to get something free. 

2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV):  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

We must always be prepared in our daily life, work life and especially in our faith.  You would not plan a road trip without programming your GPS or at least looking up a route on a map or online.  So why do we as humans often make an announcement of a goal without a true plan to get there?

When we choose to study, we are choosing to prepare ourselves for the daily tasks ahead. If you can always be open to learn, then you are always open to growing.  Stay Prepared and positive.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Facing Fears

I have written before about facing your fears or "feel the fear and do it anyway".

In the past few weeks I personally have faced a few of my fears (rational or irrational in some cases) and once I did the action I was afraid of doing, I was overcome with relief and thankfulness that God gave me the courage to reach out to those I had been staying away from or avoiding for different reasons.

Sometimes, I am not easy to get along with and I can be judgmental of others. And through that and the past 2 months of my life, I have pushed away some people that I thought were no longer part of my team.  Then things happen in my life and/or business that I am so drawn to those people that I had to 'jump over the fear' and email them or text them to tell them what had happened.  Feelings were repaired, apologies made and laughter happened again.

It is good to have friends that you don't always agree with, but you have to have an open heart to learn from them and to hold your tongue at times as well. If you are open to it, you just might learn something in the process.  I firmly believe that if we stop learning, we stop growing.

I have been avoiding certain restaurants not because of their food or an allergy, but because someone who works there knew me and my ex-husband.  This had been weighing on me as something very silly that I need to get over and I just kept putting it off.  Last night, after a candle party in Gallatin, I got into my hometown and nothing much was open.  So I drove over to one restaurant to grab something to eat for a late dinner.  I got there 10 minutes before closing and sure enough I recognized a pickup truck in the lot. I took a deep breath and said "Hello" to the night manager and it was a good chat. I am thankful that I took the chance to speak to them and buried my issues. It was not this person's fault that his friend ended my marriage and it was time to let things go.

So, If I can reach out to someone that was angry at me and reach out to someone that I was afraid to speak to, you can overcome your fears and go forward.

Don't spend your life afraid, every day find something to be thankful for and please don't let fear run your life. #live #celebrate #joyful

Friday, November 14, 2014

4 years later...

Have you ever been so down in your spirit and thoughts that you were virtually living in a 'pit of despair'?  I have and I can tell you it is a miserable place to be.

In 2006 my grandmother passed away and that was one event in my life that was part of a much bigger situation that threw me into a tailspin of depression, complete and utter sadness and so much that even my supervisor gently encouraged me to see help through our EAP system at the office. I was on medication, in counseling and still trying to pretend to the world that I had it 'all together'.

I still to this day fight depression, anxiety and sadness with varying levels of success.  Then 2010 hit me square in the face. So much happened that year and once it all balled up and sat in my lap, I couldn't take it or living anymore.

I walked out on a decent job, my husband was cheating on me even though I pretended not to notice. I was in such a state of despair that I was petrified to be alone or for him to leave me. So I chose to stay in the messed up marriage because I felt I had no where to go.

October of 2010 while on a weekend trip to Fall Creek Falls my then-husband would say that he expected that we would end up divorced eventually and that he hoped we could end the marriage peacefully and stay friends through out the process.  I was SHOCKED, hurt and inwardly freaking out.  If you look back at the photos from that trip we appear to be a happy couple on a fall camping trip. But pictures often lie.  I asked him on that trip what was his timeline when was he going to file papers and if he had even spoke to a lawyer.  He never answered those questions.. this is when the mental abuse was the worst, because it became a mind-game with him to control me and my moods and my actions through his opinions and when/if he was going to leave me.

We even attended church together and I now know that my pastors knew something was going on but because I only told the pastor's wife that we were having issues, they never really knew the whole story until it unfolded a few years later. I felt like a fake, a sham and at that point in my life I truly trusted no one.  I was embarrassed to tell my sisters and parents that I had failed again at marriage.

November of 2010 (4 years ago), I hit the lowest point ever and after another ugly fight when he announced that he was taking a friend home after work (I knew she and he were having an affair), I totally lost it and decided that morning that I couldn't take anymore.  I texted my kids and told them I loved them so much and I would always love them and to please remember that. I also texted a friend out of town and told her how much she meant to me.  I had tried to call my then-husband at work but he was refusing to speak to me (another mind-game). 

I got into the vehicle with my purse and his pistol took the safety off and had the gun to my head twice.  My kids were texting me and calling me and I would not speak to them, only texting at this point. I was crying and I just wanted the pain to go away. I truly wanted to end it all and that day thought that my kids would be better off with me gone (they were both grown and married - not living at home or even in the same city as I). I put the phone down and I had the gun to my temple and my finger on the trigger... then my phone rang and for some reason I answered that phone call.

I believe that God was reaching out to me the only way I would answer (and put the gun down).

I would find out later that my son called my husband at work telling him off and to go check on me and that 2 calls were put into the local police for a wellness check because friends and family at that point considered me suicidal.  So the police pulled up and by the time  I saw them come down our part of the apartment complex, I had stepped out of the car, phone in hand and calmly looked at them and said, "Are you looking for me?"

I refused to leave until my husband arrived, I wanted him to care enough to show up.  Despair and  complete sadness was controlling me not love and I was so afraid that he would not show up at all.

So we stood by the vehicle on a sunny November day waiting on him to arrive, then I got in the back of the police cruiser and would be transported to a mental health place for initial evaluation before I was placed in a Psychiatric ward in local hospital.

I would spend 7 days in that hospital surrounded by nurses, doctors, assistants and many other health care providers who showered me with love. The first 2 days I didn't eat much at all and it took at least 2-3 days for my meds to reset because they changed all my medication during that stay. I was blessed to have my Bible and other things during my stay. (My then-husband brought me a bag full of clothes, books, my c-pap machine and even my blanket.) During that hospital stay, I would have visitors and phone calls and even time to go to a chapel service. Other patients even ministered to me by telling me what God had done for them.

I was not healed by any means when I was discharged, but I was changed. My eyes were opened and I didn't know how I would make it but from that point in my life forward I knew I would eventually be single again and somehow I would get through it all.

Now, here I am 4 years out from the day I was released from the hospital and I can tell you I am so amazed and humbled at what God has done in my life.  He truly was not finished with me in 2010 nor is he done with me now.  If I had taken my life that day in 2010 these are just a few things I would have missed:
My grandson Kaden (born 12/3/2010)
My grandson Nikolai (born 8/10/2011)
My granddaughter Abby (born 11/14/11)
Seeing my son graduate from Basic at Ft. Benning, GA (March 2012)
Living in GA and getting to meet all my friends in Warner Robins (Emilee, Debbie, Sherry, Jamie, Natalie, Michele to name a few)
Returning to TN in 2012
Joining Covenant Church (Burns, TN)
Reuniting with family and friends in TN
Rebuilding my business
Having the courage to file for divorce and see it through and be on the other side of that journey as well (August 1, 2013 final)
Attending Leadership Conference 2014
and so many other things...

So today I am thankful to God Almighty that I am alive!!  I am thankful that my sisters, parents, children didn't turn their back on me in that horrible dark time in my life.

Recovering from all these things is not easy and it takes a lot of time, prayer and a tremendous amount of faith (that I didn't even know I was capable of).

There is always hope and I pray you realize that someone is always praying for you.  Reach out to others and be a blessing (and you will be blessed in return!!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Christian Values

Christian values - the very phrase should mean the same thing to all who read it, but society is very subjective and opinionated. 

If you only see "Christian Values" portrayed on Duck Dynasty and 19 Kids and Counting, you have seen a bit of who we are, but not the full story.

If you truly stick to your values, everyone will see the same thing from you every day. Remember this "WYSIWYG"? It means What you see is What you get and 95% of the time I am the same with everyone.


I mentioned 2 very popular but often criticized television programs about families here in the USA. I read the blog for the Duggars (19 Kids & Counting) and it saddens me so to see so many people putting them down for their beliefs when they have never hidden the fact they are conservative Christians.  They have now been on TV for 10 years and to them, the show is just a home movie of their lives. I personally applaud them for being true to their beliefs and speaking out about what they believe. That takes courage that most of do not have.

Society has also made fun of the Robertson clan (Duck Dynasty) for their look, their dress and their opinions but again, how can you fault a family who believe in something so much that they tell the world about it?

These two families are not to be worshiped (that is reserved for our Lord), but they are a pretty good example of people who share their beliefs without fear and show great courage no matter who or what in society come against them.

I am a preacher's daughter and for many years lived life in that 'fish bowl' where everyone was watching everything I did to see if I would mess up. Oh, I messed up, but I eventually came back around and set things right.

I am not a Bible teacher but I do share my beliefs with those that seek to discuss and share as well. Right now I am reading the Book of Mark and this verse is what I will leave you with today because I believe it fits what many want to do but never have the courage to pursue it.

Mark 16:15 - And he said unto them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

You can go and teach someone!!
First be sure you and your family are safe and please don't stay in an abusive home. There are people waiting to help you at 1-800-799-7233.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fault-Finding

Do you have someone in your life who is constantly telling you how everything you do is wrong or they have a better way? Do they constantly just want to help but you feel defeated around them and even stay away from them so you don't get 'corrected' all the time?

I am not saying it is wrong for a friend to try to help someone they care about. I am saying that you are wrong if you continually find fault with someone day after day and week after week.  No one likes to be constantly corrected and put down because they don't measure up to you or your opinions.

I see fault finding going hand-in-hand with those busybodies we all know.  The ones that ask how you are and then get nosy about the situation and keep asking for more 'dirt'.  They may claim they are only listening but be aware that the traits of fault-finding, busybodies often lead up to gossiping as well. So your personal issues with someone may end up on the town gossip line before it is all said and done.

Nothing is gained by judging another person on this earth. In fact we are taught in Matthew not to judge others.

Matthew 7:1-3 (KJV)
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Everyone has faults and everyone has sin that we are to repent of and seek forgiveness for. No one is immune to this for we are all human. Judging another person for who they associate with, where they go to church or even what foods they choose to eat is not going to get you any friends. 

I used to know someone in college who felt it was his God-given right to walk up to complete strangers at the Grill (MTSU) and invite them to church. If they said no, that they went somewhere else, he proceeded to tell them they were going to hell.  It was not a pretty sight to watch and as far as I know he didn't get any converts that way at all.  

I recall the saying "You get more flies with honey then vinegar" holds true today in many aspects of our lives.  You truly cannot get your message across to a receiving heart/mind if they are not willing to listen to your message. 

Be Kind, and seek to correct yourself first and you won't have time to correct others.

If you are in danger, please get out and get some help -- 1-800-799-7233 Is the Domestic Violence Hotline. Or contact your local YWCA or shelter as well. Most have been where you are and truly want to help you help yourself! 

Relationships

I am single, that is not a secret. I have been single (according to the judicial system) for just 15 months. I have lived without a spouse since May of 2012. It has been rocky at times, but every time I was on the verge of sinking and not being able to pay my bills the Good Lord has blessed me with a way to pay my bills and have a roof over my head.  I owe him everything.

Someone told me Sunday morning I looked lonesome and it struck me that I do not feel lonesome, quite the contrary, most of the time I feel FREE! 

You see, I am free to work where I want, have a second job (home based business), drive where I want to drive, visit who I want to visit and I don't have to report to anyone on this earth where I am going or how long I will be there.  That is freedom!!

I choose to let my parents know If I have a show after work so they don't worry. I choose to keep others in the loop who may need to reach me from time to time. But these things are my CHOICES.

Recently I was speaking to a friend and told her it would be nice to have a guy friend to talk to sometimes. So she introduced me to someone she trusted and knew.  Boy, was I nervous about talking to this guy online much less meeting him face-to-face. 

This guy seems to be a nice guy and a gentleman even that works, loves football and takes care of business.  But after 2 weeks of him messaging me every day to see how I was doing or what I had going on, I had enough and had to cut off the relationship. No, I never went on a date with this person because we only spoke via facebook messenger or a few text messages.  It was overwhelming to me.

I realized very quickly that I am NOT ready to be in that kind of relationship where someone wants to know every piece of my life. To me, it was way to invasive for where I am emotionally and mentally these days.

I do not have a timeline laid out for my plans to re-enter the land of relationships and/or dating. I just know that I will NOT seek after it at this point in my life. I truly believe I need this time to be alone and seek God over anyone else.

So, when you see me at my local hangout sitting alone, don't feel sorry for me. Instead, pull up a chair and chat with me, smile and even encourage me to keep doing what I am doing. 

Enjoy where you are and who you are with right now for you never know when it will all change! Be a blessing every day to someone somehow. 

If you are in an abusive relationship, please seek help to get out of the situation.
Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233
or call 911 if you are in immediate danger.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Behavior

Most adults learned the way to act and interact with their peers and supervisors back in their elementary school days when they were taught right from wrong from their teachers and hopefully their parents at home.

Some adults never learned the lessons and are obnoxious, rude and still misbehaving today to everyone they come in contact with and they blame it on their childhood because they refuse to change.

As parents you have a responsibility to teach your child right from wrong and what is allowed when interacting with other children and adults on a daily basis. This should be taught as soon as they start talking and interacting with you.  If you wait until they start school, the lessons will be taught but it is NOT the responsibility of that teacher to teach your child how to behave, they are there to share education with your child.

I am simply a mom and former GS leader who has seen more than her share of children and young people who just don't behave and it always makes me sad. I was made fun of for all the rules I had in place for my 2 children and was constantly told I was 'too hard' on them and I should back off some.   In my time of reflection, I see so many mistakes I made with them, but I do see them for who they are and can relax now knowing I did the best I knew to do at the time I was raising them.

If your child or grandchild can walk, talk and interact with others (children or adults) then please teach them these basic manners:
1) Never interrupt adults when they are talking
2) Sit still
3) Speak clearly (no mumbling). I had a rule that when they mumbled, I walked out of the room and still to this day, if I hear mumbling on the telephone, I hang up.
4) Never demand things of others, Ask instead (they will get farther with a question).
5) Sit in your own chair. Sitting and crawling over your siblings and parents is very distracting and there is an age where I feel this must be enforced.
6) Do not teach the child to use their 'label' to get away with things or to seek their own set of behavior rules.
7) Do not touch a child smaller than you unless you have permission of the parent. Consider others before yourself.
8) Only take one serving, you do not need more than one cookie at a time.
9) Clean up your own messes and when visiting a friend,  you don't leave them with a messy room or table, you help them clean it up before you leave.
10) Take turns without complaint.

This list is pretty short and somethings on here may not be considered manners to you, but these are what I have come up with over the past few years.

Regarding #6 - I have many friends with children that are considered special needs or labeled in some way.  So I offer these examples and explanation because I have seen all points on the spectrum in regards to behavior and it really saddens me personally.

Some of these children and young people are the calmest and well behaved people you will ever come across because their parents chose to teach them how to behave no matter their condition.  Just because you are confined to a wheelchair does not give you the right to run over other people's feet and backtalk adults. I also know of a 4 year old that is calm and quiet who asks permission to enter your room and if they can see what you are doing. I know her mom and dad worked very hard to teach her manners and it shows in their daughter's behavior.

There is a time and place for the children to rip and romp and run and that is outside on a playground, not inside a school, workplace or place of worship.

This article has been on my heart for over a year and I finally got my words in order to share it with my readers. I do not mean to offend anyone, just sharing information and praying you take the information here as it was meant.

I personally applaud anyone who has the time and effort to spend and work with children on a daily basis. When my troop dissolved in 2005, I walked away from working with children and after 9 years, I am choosing for the good of the children and my own sanity to stay out of children's activities. Sometimes I really miss the times and fun with my GS troop, but I have gotten older and lost all my patience I apparently had back in those days.

Please share this with those that you believe would benefit from it and call for help if you need it. 911 for life threatening emergencies and the hotline at other times 1-800-799-7233.