Broken peace

Last week Paul and I had our first opportunity to volunteer at a center that offers assistance for families in need. There was someone who sticks out in my mind, a young woman in her early 20’s who was very pregnant. Apparently she usually comes in with another lady who was also pregnant. But this time she came in alone and said the friend she usually comes in with was in the hospital delivering a stillborn baby. It was heartbreaking and I didn’t even know the lady.

Later the volunteer coordinator said to us she would get through it and be fine since she has the Lord to lean on. I really hope so. Does anyone ever really get over the loss of a child? Today it’s been 4 years since my friend Lisa lost her daughter in a car accident. I still worry about my friend. It’s hard to watch her suffer and only have thoughts and prayers to offer.

I don’t know about you, but I am really horrible at having a strong faith in times of trouble. I am pretty good at doubting though. Do our prayers change the heart of God? Does he really care about the continuum of time? The truth is we are all going to die.

I’ve had to accept a lot of things. Sometimes I have fleeting moments of peace. I’ve come a long way from feeling I would never be able to climb out of the despair.

Maybe I’m forever stuck in the loop of viewing my heavenly father as my earthly father. I’m just being honest here. I felt anger towards God. I’ve had to parent my parents since I can remember. Why can’t I just walk away? Why do I feel responsible for them? I never had parents I could go to for support.

When I found out about my dad’s crime and a few months later my daughter attempted suicide, I turned to our pastor for support. But I felt like I was doing something wrong. I didn’t forgive. I wasn’t good enough or have enough faith to be blessed with a healthy family. I took advice from a pastor who had some of the best parents I’ve ever seen. He wasn’t abused. His dad wasn’t a pedophile. He wasn’t dealing with decades of childhood trauma. He didn’t grow up in a household of worry and fear. His childhood gave him good memories, mine gave me PTSD. It was like trying to get marriage advice from a priest. He couldn’t relate.

But somehow I came through it. I made my peace with God. Our new pastor is great, although I know he can not relate. Not many can. Our church has a shortage of pastors. The other day my husband said if he was younger he would’ve liked to be a pastor. I think he would make a great pastor, I would not however make the best pastor’s wife. The sad thing is Paul said he didn’t feel like he would ever be good enough to be a pastor, he is too broken.

But somehow I think it’s better to help others when you have been through it yourself. Between Paul and I, we’ve both been through a lot of hard times and maybe we can use our experiences to help others. It took me two years to get to the spot where I thought maybe I could experience joy in my life again. It took a lot of work. I still struggle. Sometimes I wonder if God cares. If you find you are having a hard time getting by with the little faith you have, you are not the only one.

I wish I had good advice to help other people in our lives who might be hurting. What did I want in my darkest days? What I wanted more than anything was to be left alone, but that also wasn’t healthy for me to isolate myself. It helped to have a couple people to talk to that didn’t treat me like something was wrong with me because they couldn’t understand. My best friend would check in on me every couple of days. Don’t just offer thoughts and prayers, look at me with pity, and go on your merry way. Ask what you can do to help. Say kind things like…I don’t know how you can stay sane. Talk about your problems with me. I felt bad when friends wanted to talk but said my problems are nothing compared to yours.

When I see others struggle with similar circumstances, I try to tell them they are not alone or that I felt the same way they did. I understand why people don’t cut their dysfunctional families out of their lives. It’s because they are a good person. They want to help. They have been conditioned from a young age to have to do things most people have no understanding about. The fear of a parent killing them self and you are the only person who might be able to stop it, fix it can not just walk away. Don’t tell someone who has lost a child to just get over it. There is no timeline for grief.

We can really hurt others with our words. But more importantly, we can offer great comfort and help. That is the true joy of suffering.

Gratitude week 129

  1. Paul and I bought and planted everything for our landscaping project.
  2. I put on clean sheets and finally took the electric blanket off our bed.
  3. Summer! We are expecting the next couple of days to be in the mid to upper 90’s with high humidity. I might have to break down and put on our A/C. It’s rarely ever forecasted to be this hot here. I could probably count on one hand in my lifetime of days where it’s been over 100.
  4. We had some powerful storms come through our area and were without electricity for almost a day and a half. I’m grateful our power is back on.
  5. I’m grateful we didn’t sustain any damage from the storm. A couple streets over had a lot of damage, a huge tree knocked down a powerline. My parents have many trees down.
  6. I’m grateful the boats in the marina are safe. A tornado went through and decimated a farm about a mile away from the marina. We saw the siding from the barn hanging in the tree across the street from it. It’s strange to see so much damage in some areas and none at all in others.
  7. I’m grateful for running water; the ability to take a shower, flush a toilet, wash clothes and dishes.
  8. I’m grateful my best friend had power so we could run over all the meat we just bought. I’m grateful for the opportunity to clean out the freezer. Something I’ve been meaning to do for a while.
  9. I’m grateful for the deafening silence without power. It gave me time to think without distractions. My cell phone died and for awhile I went off the grid like I did when I was a kid.
  10. My son turned 22 this week, one step closer to full brain development. Ha ha. He woke up to no power, a dead cell phone, not able to take a shower, and we couldn’t go sailing as planned because there was a gale warning. But, all in all, I think he had an okay day anyway.
  11. I spent some time talking alone with my son’s girlfriend. Her family life was not a lot different from mine. I think I was able to help her out as someone who understands and has been there.
  12. Paul and I volunteered at a Christian center that helps families in need. They give out free diapers, kids clothing, and support families. We think this is a great way to help people. I’m grateful for the opportunity to volunteer there.
  13. I’ve been dog sitting for my best friend all weekend. I’m grateful for the opportunity to help out and that it has taken away my desire to get a dog anytime soon. She will not leave my side and barks or whines when I leave her. She scratches on the door if I go in another room.
  14. Friday night Paul and I went to dinner and a local community theater show with our old friends Harv and Kate. They are in their upper 80’s. It’s always nice to hang out with them.
  15. Today is Father’s Day. I’m grateful that my husband and brother are wonderful fathers without having good role models. Today is a hard day for people who have difficult relationships with their dads, including me. I was unable to find my dad a card this year. They all had words such as there for me when I needed you, great example, wonderful person…you get the drill. So I suppose a phone call will suffice.
  16. I’m grateful all our kids stopped by today for Father’s Day. Our daughters (and their significant others) surprised dad by going to church with us. This is the first time our kids visited our new church.
  17. Wow, I have a long list this week. It’s amazing how grateful I am when I had to go without. There are so many things I take for granted…like running water. This has been a reminder to me of what I have.

Gratitude week 128

  1. I took an upper level sailing class, and I passed. I wasn’t sure I would.
  2. As much as I like to get away, I’m always grateful to sleep in my own bed.
  3. We purchased a quarter cow. I’m grateful to have meat in the freezer from a local farmer. I’m hoping this will save us money at the store.
  4. Paul and Angel ran a 10k yesterday. It was my daughter’s first time running a 10k and my first time watching instead of running. It was a bittersweet moment. I’m grateful I inspired my daughter to be a runner, yet was sad I could no longer run. It was a strange feeling. I felt nostalgia for the days of running, happiness watching my daughter (and husband) run, a great sadness I will never run again, and a part of me felt relief.
  5. I’m grateful as a previous runner of the race that I had inside knowledge of the best places to be an observer.
  6. Spring; warm days and cool nights. I’m trying to go the whole summer without A/C. We’ll see how far I get this year.
  7. An old friend from college was in the area and stopped by. I haven’t seen her in over 5 years.
  8. I also got an unplanned visit the same night from my best friend.
  9. After working two weeks straight, my husband has the next couple days off.
  10. I’m grateful to go out to eat with family and friends this past week.
  11. After the race, Paul made his famous homemade pizza.

Gratitude week 126

  1. It’s the unofficial start of summer. Yeah! My favorite time of year in Wisconsin. Today the weather is perfect.
  2. We got Arabella TOTALLY moved out this past week. Her room is completely empty which was no small task. I really thought it would take weeks if not months to move all her stuff out, so I am grateful for that.
  3. I am going to make her bedroom into my office after summer is over. Her carpet is shot, so I am planning on ripping out the carpeting and painting the walls. I’ll put my desk in there and buy a futon couch if we have extra overnight guests.
  4. There are little kids in Arabella’s apartment building. One little boy, probably 3 or 4 asked if I was the landlord. When I said I wasn’t, he asked what I was doing there. I told him I was moving my daughter in. He had a really concerned look on his face when he asked me who was going to take care of her. What a sweetheart! Made my day.
  5. Paul and I signed up to do some volunteer work to help families in our community. I’m grateful for the opportunity to help others in need.
  6. Arabella found a new waitressing job!
  7. I spent the day Friday going out to eat and shopping with my best friend.
  8. Angel and Dan got their own cell phone plan. It’s hard to believe the wedding is 4 months away! It’s wonderful that my daughter is 100% independent from us now, has a great job, and is doing well. Plus I’ll save money on our phone plan.
  9. That being said, I upgraded to a new cell phone from an iPhone 8. I’m still saving money on our plan.
  10. I started getting WP notifications on my new phone. It’s probably been about a year since I received the last notification.
  11. We wanted to continue with our landscaping project. However, the quote for the little section we wanted done was $4,000. We decided to do it ourselves. Yesterday my son and some of his buddies removed the old landscaping rocks and took out some shrubs. It’s amazing to see the strength and energy of young men. I’m grateful we are still able to do the project at a fraction of the price.
  12. As tomorrow is Memorial Day, I’m grateful for the sacrifice of veterans who served and protected our country at all costs.
  13. I’m grateful for mid-week church services.

Gratitude week 125

  1. I had my doctor appointment I waited 4 months for and got the answers I was looking for. The doctor said I have osteoarthritis which explains the joint pain I’ve been having. I’m not excited about having arthritis, but I am grateful to finally have some answers.
  2. I’ve been blogging for seven years now.
  3. Mom and I bought flowers last time we got together. We created some lovely planters for the patio. I also bought some cilantro and strawberry plants.
  4. Thunderstorms. We rarely have thunderstorms over the winter. I didn’t realize how much I missed the patter of falling rain and hearing distant thunder.
  5. A clean mattress pad and sheets.
  6. Arabella started moving into her apartment over the weekend.
  7. We had an open house over the weekend for our seasonal business and had a nice turnout.
  8. My son’s good friend/roommate turned 21 over the weekend. I always worry when the young folks turn 21 because of the heavy drinking involved. He safely survived the weekend.
  9. Arabella turned her location back on for me without me asking her to.
  10. I watched my best friend’s son play baseball near our house. I’m grateful for the opportunity to support her family.

Gratitude week 122

  1. It’s May!! March and April were difficult months weather wise with cold, windy, and rainy/icy/snowy weather most days. We even had snow a couple days ago. It been a very wet wintry spring, but it might warm up a bit by next weekend…
  2. I’m pretty much done with my spring cleaning. This past week I washed the windows and put on the screens. Now I’m just waiting for spring.
  3. I got my 1st birthday video back. It was neat to watch, however a 50 mm film translates into about 3 or 4 minutes of video without audio. I was hoping for something longer with more family in it besides me and a short clip with my mom. Oh well! My grandma had a tradition where bread, a book, and money were placed in front of a baby at their first birthday. I have video proof that I picked the bread which supposedly means I will never go hungry…but my husband said maybe I am smart because I actually picked the only edible object. LOL
  4. I met my husband’s therapist this week.
  5. I was able to spend time with all my kids this week.
  6. My brother Luke called me to vent. He rarely does that, so I am grateful for the call to talk.
  7. I’m grateful to have our best friends over for Paul’s homemade pizza and swimming.
  8. The neighborhood had rummage sales going on, so yesterday Paul and I went to check it out. I bought some of my favorite things to buy…clothes, puzzles, books, and candles. Next weekend we are planning on going out rummaging again..
  9. Clean sheets.
  10. I was able to work on my book.
  11. The finale of Ozark is out.

Gratitude week 121

  1. Finally we had a nice weather day yesterday. It was right around 70 degrees, so I was able to sit outside and enjoy the warm weather for awhile. It was the warmest day this year so far. This week it is supposed to be cold again, but dry.
  2. Paul and I were able to get some raking done yesterday with the nice weather.
  3. I also spent some time this week picking up garbage in my yard.
  4. This past week I cleaned the kitchen. I cleaned the oven for the first time since we moved in. I also cleaned the Keurig, microwave, and refrigerator. It feels good to have a clean house and yard.
  5. Yesterday I hosted a murder mystery party with some friends we haven’t seen for awhile. Both Paul and I guessed who the murderer was. It was fun to get together with friends and see everyone’s costume.
  6. Paul and I had good visits with all our kids this week.
  7. My mom and I finished the last puzzle for the season.
  8. Life is starting to settle down so I am going to get back to writing my book again.
  9. My daughter had another migraine this week. I’m grateful her fiancé finished his work out of state early and was able to be there for her.

Gratitude week 119

  1. We joined a new church today.
  2. We had the pastor and his family over for a swim yesterday. They have 7 children, age 13 and under. I got my baby fix in for awhile. The kids were very excited to come over and swim, so that was positive. The pastor spent the last couple months meeting with us and getting to know us, so all in all it has been a good experience and I’m grateful for the time the pastor spent with us. It was probably around 20 hours which is the longest time I think a pastor has talked to us one-on-one.
  3. I was able to do some volunteer work for the church using some of my previous job experience. It was good to help out. It made me really miss the business we used to run. But it’s nice to know those skills still have purpose in helping others.
  4. My tattoo is fully healed. I was able to swim in the pool this week for the first time since getting the tattoo. I was able to get outside and go for a couple walks for the first time since the tattoo as well. The weather has been miserable, but it should be spring soon. Someone told me that we had the wettest March since the 1800’s. After about 2 weeks of sitting on my butt, I decided to walk around inside the house with weights. I figured doing something is better than doing nothing.
  5. I am excited to do the spring purge this week and get rid of stuff. Time to bring out the spring clothes and go through everything. I’m going to do some yard work this afternoon. I’ll be picking up branches, raking, and getting on the ladder to replace burnt out light bulbs. I’ve been itching to get out and do something after being cooped up for so long.
  6. Last Sunday we visited Arabella at her new job.
  7. This past week I ended up taking Angel to the ER. She ended up having an ocular migraine (which other people in my family have had but not me). I’m grateful I was able to help her out when she needed me.
  8. Paul’s step-dad Darryl is engaged and we were able to meet his fiancé’s family when we went out for her birthday. They were very warm and welcoming.
  9. My best friend and her family came over last night to visit. Her son participated in the youth hunt and got a turkey right away in the morning which they brought over for us to sample. It’s always nice to get together with friends on a quiet weekend.
  10. I feel like I am out of survivor mode. The last several years have been such a roller coaster ride. It feels strange to have things relatively back to normal. And quite frankly, it is, well…rather boring. I have been feeling less motivated to write. Because what is there to write about?? Mundane things? In my natural state I am very structured, organized, and routine. Who wants to hear about that? Maybe it would be something new. LOL!

Gratitude week 118

  1. March is over! Hopefully spring will be on its way. March went out like a lion. We had a two day period of snow/ice/rain/sleet mix. We still have patchy snow on the ground. The upcoming week looks more of the same…but I know it won’t be long until the days are nice.
  2. Everyone was safe during the storm although family members were out and about driving in the bad weather and also experienced brief power outages.
  3. Arabella visited for a couple days. We watched a movie and played some games.
  4. Clean sheets.
  5. My son had some friends over grilling out a couple of days. It’s nice because they treat me like a friend and not a parent. I feel like at this time I have a really good relationship with all of my kids, their significant others, and their friends. It’s nice to be able to talk with everyone as adults openly. That’s something I never experienced with my own parents. Even now it’s hard to be myself around them. That’s not something my kids have to do around me.
  6. A spontaneous double date with my best friend, her husband, and my husband.
  7. No one played any April Fool’s Day jokes on me nor I on them. I’m just not feeling it.

Gratitude week 117

  1. I am grateful for the friendships I’ve made on WP. It means so much to me to be a part of a supportive community as I tell my story and to share the joys and struggles along with other people all around the world as I hear your stories.
  2. Today when I woke up, the sun was shining for the first time in a week. It still is cold out with no foreseeable end in sight…but for now the rain and snow ended.
  3. We’ve had a couple of fires inside this week to stay warm. I guess that’s one thing I’m grateful for with the cold weather. I miss having fires inside in the summer.
  4. My tattoo is healing nicely.
  5. My best friend and I went out to eat for the first time this calendar year. I’m grateful to have a best friend who always checks in on me.
  6. I went out to eat with my brother Matt for his birthday. A couple weeks back I found a record for him at the antique store of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. My brother was obsessed with that movie when we were kids, so I was excited to find it for him.
  7. My husband made his famous homemade pizza and we had Arabella and Will over for supper and Mahjong.
  8. Paul and I had a date night on Friday night. We went out for sushi and had tickets to see a comedian. We did a lot of laughing, probably too much laughing because things were going too good. After the show, we walked back to my car. The winds were whipping rather fiercely and the snow was falling. We got back to my car and noticed I had a flat tire. We also found out that I do not have a spare tire. Seriously?? Why? Was it because I let my guard down and was having too much fun??
  9. Thank God I have a good sense of humor.
  10. While we were at the sushi restaurant, I saw something on TV about a store that sells records and realized we were only a block away. So…since we went out to eat really early as not to miss the show, we had some extra time…I ended up buying three new records; Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Prince’s Purple Rain, and Kraftwerk’s Radioactivity.
  11. Last night Angel and our employee James (the only one who still works for our previous business and who does some work for us now) came over for beer sampling, pizza, and to watch the Bucks game. James is the only employee who worked for us that we are still in touch with. He is pretty much an honorary family member now.
  12. Angel’s fiancé Dan came home very early this morning after spending a couple weeks out of state for work.
  13. It was nice to have a really busy week so I could forget how miserable the weather is. Spring is coming, I know it is…