Sunday Storytelling-Be Happy Where you Are

This is a post I wrote about two years ago, and for some reason, I have been thinking a great deal on this subject lately.  Maybe one of you can relate.  Enjoy!

When I was 20, I went on a spiritual retreat.  One day, we were told to be silent.  No talking and on our own as much as possible.  We could eat together, but no talking.  Everyone must remain silent.  We were trying to listen for God’s voice.  Well, I do not know about you guys, but quieting my mind is more difficult than not talking.  I think about everything and worry about more than I should.  When someone says try to listen for God, I freak out.  My mind begins to think constantly about why I do not hear His voice.

Even at age 20, which is almost 20 years ago, I felt this way.  I would like to say that things have changed, but with my anxiety, it has not.

DSC_0047

So that morning, I decided to take a walk.  Our retreat was up in the mountains, next to a beautiful stream with many,many wild flowers.  Oh it was gorgeous!  So I knew I wanted to hike along the stream to look for a place to sit and try to listen.  As I began my walk, I would see the best places to sit and ponder, but they were already taken.  I would get mad and say to myself, “Everyone else has the best place, why can’t I have the same spot?”

DSC_0013

The further I would walk, the more I realized that all the great spots were taken.  Why couldn’t I find a spot like everyone else had?  Why did they get all the good stuff?  Now I was about a mile and a half into my hike, and I was getting so frustrated.  I wanted to hear from God damnit, and I couldn’t because everyone else had the perfect spot. The interesting thing is, I did not turn around and go back, I just kept walking.  I came to a dead spot in the walk where everything seemed to be brown and crunchy.  I became even more mad and actually began yelling at God, as to why he talks to everyone else but me.  Why does he give good gifts to all the others, but me, I get a dead spot?

DSC_0006

Still, I walked.

And walked.

Suddenly, the trail opened up into a huge green meadow.  The meadow was lush, green beautiful, and colorful with newly blossomed wildflowers.  And I realized that God had spoken all along.  And it is a lesson that I have needed to be reminded of.

DSC_0119

The lesson is that I spend a great deal of time looking at other people and what they have.  Not possessions, but family, friends, spiritually.  I get frustrated and wonder why I cannot have what they have.  Why do I get to keep walking?  Why do I have the crunchy dead spots?    But in reality, I do have the most lush green beautiful life. I may have to walk and walk to get there.  I may have to go through the nasty stuff, but when I come out of it, I have beauty.  I have to focus on the beauty in the journey as well, and be happy for the people who are in there beautiful spots.  You see, they had to go through nasty stuff to get there.  I just do not know their story.

Instead of dwelling on what others have and what I do not, it is time to remind myself to be happy for them.  Love them and know that what they have been through to get there has been just as difficult or more so than what I have been through.

DSC_0040

Your time is coming, just keep walking.

Love,

Suzy

End of Summer Bounty

DSC_0024

I sit here in the silence of the morning, getting ready to wake up the children.  Outside I hear the sprinklers run and water the grass, still trying to help it grow even with the cooler temperatures. I think to myself, “I still have to mow the lawn!”  I see the produce that my garden is still producing, and I think, “No not more!”  Not more stuff to do, not more things to think about.

I think to myself, “Maybe I will let my kids sleep in for another hour.  I need the break.”  The silence is nice.

I noticed that I was looking at this day as a chore, and I realized I have a choice.  I can make this day about me and my needs, or I can love.  I can love this day that has been gifted to me.  I can live this day and love the chores that I have been given.  I can choose to teach my kids with enthusiasm and instill a desire in them to live this day they have been given.

I can focus my attention on the amazing things of this world or get caught up in the doing.  My kids are not chores, they are gifts.  The food being provided from our garden is the gift of health and how can I teach my kids to give the gift of health to the world.  I used to dwell on how can I change the world?  I found the answer is living with gratitude daily.  My kids see this gratitude, they go out and are thankful, and guess what?  This changes the world.

So simple, yet so complicated.

I choose to get started on this beautiful day.

Love,

Suzy

Deep in It

DSC_0001 DSC_0002

We have been deep in school for the past month and a half.  Some days it goes very well, but it seems that my oldest is having his fair share of problems this year.  He seems to have been bitten by the lazy bug, and I cannot help but wonder if he is experiencing teenage attitude a little early.  He is only 11, but man his mouthiness!

Last night, we had a talk with him about his choices.  He is the one who chooses to be defiant, he also chooses to make wise decisions.  Oh my goodness, nothing sunk in.  Instead we heard him say school is too hard, he does not want to work, and this is child labor.  It struck me that we our middle class kids have no concept of labor.  Sure they help out from time to time, but they get distracted and play.  Play is great and I am all for it.  They have the opportunity to play and have fun, which I am so thankful for, but they are stuck in mediocrity.  The middle.  I am not saying I want my child to experience truly difficult times in which he has to participate in child labor, or be in want of food, or have to go through trials to accomplish.  But I do want my kids to have a knowledge and appreciation of what others around this world must face on a daily basis.  I want them to know that school and helping with chores isn’t the worst possible thing that could ever happen to them.

Growing up, my dad was in construction.  He was and still is very good at what he does, but there were times when building just was not happening.  We experienced some tough times.  We had to move where the work was, he would go for a few months to another state so we would not have to move, just so he could send money back.  There was a time when we could not find a place to live right away and had to live in a tiny travel trailer and go from park to park.  Looking back, it was difficult, but I would not have changed it.  I have learned from my parents to never give up.  To stick to a task and finish.  To stick together through difficult times.  To work hard and achieve goals.

Now, I live in mediocrity.  I like my mediocrity, but I am so far removed from what goes on for so many everyday.  How can I help my children understand what true child labor is?  How can I help my children understand that it is a privilege to go to school?  How can I help my children understand that times will be tough but if you stick it out, slow and steady, working together you can accomplish whatever it is you are doing?  How do I teach this without them going through truly awful times?

This to me is true education.  True learning.  As you can see, I am deep in thought today.  Being a parent is difficult and the balance truly challenging. Any thoughts or ideas? And please remember, I have been vulnerable and honest.  I do not want to hear criticism, but ideas that would be beneficial for everyone to hear.

Messy Weekend

What is life without messes?

What is a home without messes?

Sure I like to keep things clean, but I also like people to truly live in my home.

Not just my family, but also my friends.

This weekend I had a canning party in which some dear friends helped motivate me to can over 30 quarts in one day of spaghetti sauce, my award-winning salsa and tomato sauce.  What was once bare shelves are now showing the fruits of our labor.

DSC_0014

One of the biggest compliments was given to me that day.  One woman, I know really well, and she feels comfortable in my home, the other is new to our town and was the first time I really got to know her.  The latter of the women wanted a glass of water, and immediately my other friend told her where to find the glasses and water.  She turned to me and said, “I am sorry!  This is your home, I just feel so relaxed and at home here!”

I loved to hear this.  I want my home to be a place where people can come and be relaxed, cared for and know that they can feel free to care for others in it.

My boys had a slumber party in which they made their sleeping area on the landing of the upstairs.  I let them get messy and make a mess upstairs.  When it was time for their friends to go home, their friends  were sad and wanted to stay.

DSC_0015DSC_001620130825_074604

The classroom is where all the learning will take place this year, and now it is a mess.  But the excitement from seeing the mess is too much for my kids.  Not a bad thing, but they are so excited to see what they will be learning.

DSC_0017

This is life, messy and comfortable and I would not change a thing!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Love

Suzy

Love Letters

Recently, my husband and I were apart for three weeks with no phone contact.  When he has been away  before, we have had contact on the phone or have been able to Skype.  There has really been very few times when we have not been able to hear each others voices.  Email is nice, but it is so difficult to really express your love, it still feels as though you are not truly alone.

DSC_0004

So, I went old school, and wrote love letters every night.  I never sent them off, because they would not have made it to him in time, so I made a little decorative cover for the letters and kept them in order.  I was able to express to him the love I have for him, the craziness of my days and the adventures of the kids.

DSC_0006

This idea did not occur to me because I am a romantic, but instead because I read a book.  I have read the Anne of Green Gables series, and one of the books were mostly love letters to Gilbert, the love of her life.  These letters reminded me of the letters my grandmother kept from my grandfather during WWII.  He told her everything he could, and how he felt. These letters were so very romantic, and fun for me to read.  They are treasures that I will always, well treasure.  I wanted the same for my kids.  Artifacts that inspire love.  They see our love everyday, but as they get older, it will be nice for them to read and remember our feelings for each other.

I hope this inspires you to do the same.

Have a great day everyone!

Love,

Suzy

 

Lunch for our Neighbors and What This Means

Let me explain to you our neighbor situation.  We live on a dead-end street with about 10 other houses.  No one comes down this street unless they absolutely have to.  When we saw this house, the dead-end was one of the positives.  We are also surrounded by fields, so pretty much, our 10 neighbors are what we get.  This was a positive, but has turned into a negative.  You see, our neighbors have decided that we are not safe.  That our kids, are not safe to play with their kids because we are different.  We live in a state with a very distinct religion, and we are not part of that religion.  When we first moved in, our neighbors were awesome!  Our kids played with theirs, we had neighborhood parties, but slowly this began to change.  We are not going to change, and neither are they.  So their answer, to call in their kids every time my kids go out.  This happens  often, even today.  My husband and I have tried to talk, but they insist nothing is wrong.  The problem is, this is bullying, but it has happened to so many people who are not of this religion, that unfortunately it is the norm.  I will be honest, this is one of the reasons our children do not attend the local public school.  All the kids know each other rom their church which makes it very difficult for newcomers to come in.  It is a very sad situation because I know that in different circumstances we could all get along.  Especially the kids.  Kids are taught these actions, and let me tell you how hard it is not to tell my kids to be mean right back.

DSC_0008

But my kids have good hearts, better than my darkened grown up heart.  My two youngest last week decided they would pack a lunch for our closest neighbors and invite them over.  And guess what, they came.  Of course today, we had issues, but baby steps, right? Instead of getting mad, my kids are trying.  I realize they may get hurt, but they are teaching me to take chances, to think beyond the silliness that discrimination can bring.  My kids are teaching me to look beyond their religion at the person, and try to reach the person.  Not because I want to convert them, but because this is what I am called to do.  To look past, to love when I cannot.  This is exactly what my kids are choosing to do, but really do not know all the philosophies behind it.  They took a chance last week, today they were rejected and I had to tell them to always say hello, but not to get too close.  Always reach out, but realize that their efforts will not always be met with enthusiasm. Always act in love, even when love is not returned.  Now I must remind myself of the same advice and hope for the best.

DSC_0012

Have a great day everyone and remember to always reach out!

Love,

Suzy

Do you Ever Feel Like You are Doing Everything Wrong?

I do.  In fact this is how I have felt for the past few weeks.

It seems as though whatever I do, someone has something to say.  I stay home with my kids, “When are you going back to work?”  I home school, “I do not think that is healthy for your kids!”  I try to make amends, “Try harder!”  “Do better!”  I couldn’t breastfeed “That is why your children have allergies!” I let my children run, “You need to do better at controlling them!” Ugh!!!!

The crappy thing is, I have this part of me who listens, and takes everything to heart.  I personalize it so much that I begin to think I am doing everything wrong.  The voices that are telling me I am doing great, I cannot hear.  I deny their existence and say I must do better until I break.

DSC_0106

I have realized in the past few days, that the people who are telling me what I should be doing are just concerned or are unhappy with the way they have chosen.  What we have decided to do as a family is different for others to understand.  They worry about me, my children and my husband.  But for goodness sake!  Enough!  I am so tired of being compared to other women and families.

DSC_0132

Each and every one of us have our gifts. That is what makes this world work!  If we all had the same qualities, then think of how boring it would be!  There is a place for stay at home moms.  There is a place for mothers who work.  There is a place for home school.  There is a place for mainstream education.  I know it is scary, but we can get along.  We do not have to make everything into an issue.

DSC_0126

Slowly, I am coming to the realization that I cannot take comments like these to heart.  I am one woman, who will make mistakes.  Some will be big, some small.  Sometimes, I will do things well.  But enough comparing about which way is right!  We are all out for one thing and that is the betterment of ourselves and our families.

Take heart if you feel this way.  Remember your decisions, stick firm and support your friends in theirs.  If they ask for your opinion, give it, but be caring, loving and encouraging.  We must encourage always, and grow in understanding.  By doing so, we change the world.

Have a great day everyone!

Love,

Suzy

Hard Day

DSC_0006DSC_0008DSC_0011DSC_0012DSC_0013DSC_0015DSC_0021DSC_0005

Oh Wednesday! I am glad you are over. I woke up with a sense of anxiety, had it all day, felt cooped up inside the house, and my little girl screamed words of hate, felt as if I was the worst mother in the history of mothers. She must have had the same feelings of anxiety.

My little girl has come a long way, as I explained the other day. However, after weekends that are focused on her, she still struggles. It is almost as if her little brain cannot comprehend love. It is that her brain cannot comprehend love. It makes her nervous, uncomfortable and then she tries to grasp some sort of control. So even though we have had some amazing days after her birthday, the regression hit in full force yesterday.

She has experienced more pain than I could possible imagine. She has been abandoned, abused, hurt, taken away from an orphanage that was her home and then told to trust some white people who took her away from her normalcy. The normalcy she knew was completely messed up, but it was normal. She had control there. Here, she has very little. She feels love, then freaks out. She realizes she is a little girl, then tries to be in control again. She has come a long way, yet carries many demons with her.

I have come a long way as well. I used to take it so personally. Now, I dwell more on her struggle. I want to help, and feel helpless. So after being told she hated me, after being told I was a bad mommy, after being screamed at, after all this, I hugged her. I heard her sobbing uncontrollably in her room, and it took all my strength and courage to go into her room, take her in my arms and hold her. She cried, and melted into me. Then as if realizing what she was doing, she backed away and laid down on her bed. One moment my little girl was mine. It felt good, but made me completely sad and aware of her struggle.

So I told my boys that I was going to go outside for a while and walk around our property. I want to say, that my boys are amazing. They see the pain, and they hug me. It was surprisingly warm yesterday. A balmy 35 degrees. The snow is beginning to melt, but brokeness is starting to show all around. My favorite bird bath could not hold up to the harsh winter. Our Christmas tree is finally turning brown and standing in our fire pit ready for our bonfire. The garden looks lonely. There is so much snow that still needs to melt. So far to go before I see growth, green, beauty. I am seeing glimpses, and experiencing more warmth, but it is not spring yet. There is still a way to go before I can see everything in full bloom. And so it is with my daughter and our relationship. I love her, and I know that one day, I will see her in full bloom. I can already see these glimpses. Her smile lights up people’s worlds and brings them joy. I cannot imagine what it will be like when the snow and ice in her life completely melts and her full beauty shines through. It will be amazing.

I ended my day with a large glass of wine.  I could not find a clean wine glass, so I settled for a Jameson glass.  Should have just had the strong stuff!

Have a great day everyone, and remember to see the love and beauty in everything!

Love,

Suzy

Why Does it Have to Hurt so Much?

cropped-dsc_00012.jpg

Friendship is what I speak of.

For the past year, I have struggled in one of my friendships.   I thought we had a good relationship, then one day, this particular person decided talking to me was not a good  idea any longer.  I truly do not know why.  I tried calling repeatedly, tried saying hello when I saw her, tried to ask what I did.

I tried to make amends.  Isn’t that what we are called to do?  As Christians, and human beings, are we not called to love?

Today, I tried one more time.  Instead of talking, I received a text that said she does not have time to entertain a friendship that was so full of drama.  She has been trying to tell me without hurting my feelings.

Ouch.

My immediate response was to defend myself.  I did point out the irony in this whole mess by responding back that she was the one who had not talked or returned my calls.  Isn’t that being dramatic?

Then after my anger, I cried.  I cried because what she said hurt to the core.  I was respecting her enough to try to work it out,  to be mature.  How could she say this mean thing to me?

Then I was mad at myself.  Mad because I felt like I was back in high school.  I am approaching 40, and to feel the sting of a comment like this made me feel insecure and unsure of myself.

Then I called a good friend, and cried.  I cried because I do not understand why I lose friendships.  What makes me such a bad person?  You know what this friend said?  “You have not lost me.  You are a terrific person, who cares deeply and passionately.  What is wrong with being dramatic?  How is this an insult?  Being dramatic is deeply feeling for others and wanting things to be alright.”  I began to calm down.  “I am here.  I am your friend, when did my opinion stop counting and this friends you’ve lost matter so much?”  Still quiet. ”  You have friends who love and care for you, remember who we are.  We will never leave your side.”

Crying again because she is so right.  In my hurt I began to lump together everyone and say I am hated.  I am dramatic, but aren’t we all?  We are all trying to make peace, to find ourselves, to figure out who we are.

So instead of being angry, I responded again over text, “I am sad and sorry we have lost our friendship.  Can you please forgive me?”  I swallowed my pride,  I took ownership of what happened.

Instead of feeling anger now towards this person, I am thankful.  Thankful because I have great friends that I need to take seriously.  Thankful because there will be people who do not like me, and I am learning to be ok with this.  Thankful because I decided to own up.

Yes, I may be dramatic, emotional, deeply sensitive to what others feel towards me.  But these faults also make me more in tune about how others feel.  What they may be going through, and how I can make them feel better.  My faults are also my good qualities.  They are a blessing and a burden.

This is the reason why I am grateful for this person.  She has chosen not to respond, and that is her decision.  It is not a reflection of who I am. I am grateful to have friends who love me.  Who remind me that I do have faults, but who also remind me that I am  loved even for these faults.

I am grateful for the opening of my eyes and heart today.

The anger is gone, and now I must move on with the friendships I have.  I hope that this will encourage you as well.  Even when you are not forgiven, and you may not know what happened, you are still loved.  Do not hold on to anger, instead, let it go.  Dwell on the positive, and you will realize it will be alright.

Love,

Suzy

 

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: