A Long Hard Look

I’m sick, you guys. As in, can’t do anything but lay there, can’t concentrate on anything, and just feeling horrendous. There’s nothing like being unable to function to make you reevaluate your life. I don’t like what I see.

I’m wasting my life.

Let me clarify: being Hunny’s wife and being mother/care giver to the Littles is not a waste. It is an honor and a privilege. All the screaming and crying I’ve heard from my sick bed confirms that they cannot function without me, so I’m kind of important to their overall well being and quite possibly their existence. However, I am wasting the precious vapor that is my life.

Aside from the 40+ hours a week I spend taking care of my home and family, I spend all my extra time, energy, and effort helping Hunny with his duties at his second job working for a nonprofit organization. Helping my husband is part of being a wife, but I have nothing left over for myself. I spend zero time and energy following my passions or chasing my dreams. If I don’t change this, I will resent my Hunny. Nobody wants that.

I am going to prayerfully consider what I can do to change this and make time for me.

image

Ridiculous (Inside and Out)

Why is it that people forget that really ridiculously good looking people have feelings? As a ridiculously good looking person myself, I’m here to tell you, Yes, we have feelings. And yes, I’m making an obvious Zoolander reference and no, I’m not excited about the sequel. I think the sequel is a BAD idea. I predict it will be better than Anchorman 2, but not by much.

Honestly, though, my feelings were hurt deeply and repeatedly this weekend. Someone laughed in my face, another person made snide comments to me, a third person was purposefully mean to Cupcake (a grown up no less!) all within a thirty minute period. That was just at one event this past weekend. I won’t go into the others.

I think it is easy to look at someone who is attractive and married to an attractive person and has attractive children around them and think, Ugh. There is NO reason to be kind to them. Their life is perfect and mine is not and I am going to treat them badly so they know what life is like for the rest of us!

I can tell you right now: my life is not perfect. If you want some proof, read more blog posts of mine. Here’s one. Here’s one. Here’s another.  No one has a perfect life. No one will have a perfect life on earth. But you have the ability to be kind to others. You have the ability to make someone cry in the car for thirty minutes or make them feel welcome in new surroundings. You can be really, really, really ridiculously good looking on the inside.

Thirsty Thursday: The Greatest Bond

I saw an article about addiction on The Huffington Post website. In the article, the premise as to why some people become addicted to substances and others do not is because of their need to bond. According to the article, humans are bonding creatures that crave bonding so much that they will bond with substances if needed. It hypothesized that if people with addictions had families and friends that loved them and people who did not judge their actions, they would not use substances.

I was totally 100% in agreement with the findings of this article until God reminded me of someone. Someone who had a successful business. Someone who had a loving wife and loving children. Someone who was respected in social circles. This person had everything the article said a person should need to refrain from addiction and yet this person abused alcohol. This person was my Grandfather.

The one bond this person did not have is the one bond that can save him. It is the only bond that can save. It is the bond between us and God. A bond that can only be achieved through Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” John 14:6

We can’t love anyone enough to help them. We can’t love ourselves enough to change. We need God to do that. We can’t get to Him without Jesus.

Loving Losers, Users, and Substance Abusers (Like Jesus)

Disclaimer: This is not about being in a romantic relationship with a loser, user, or substance abuser. My Hunny is a wonderful, God loving person who gives freely and generously and not out of abundance. 

If I recounted the entire spectacle this person, who’ll be referred to as Loser, has been in our life, you’d be reading this blog post for days. Loser is not a family member or someone we have known more than a couple of years. I’ll tidy it up with some brief lowlights: Loser repeatedly borrowed money from Hunny before we were aware of their substance abuse issue, Loser attempted to manipulate me into agreeing with a situation that Hunny had already established would not happen, Loser called collect from rehab to be collected from the facility, acquaintances have called Hunny asking why Loser would not stop calling them after loaning Loser money, and Loser attempted to take money from a nonprofit organization.

At one of these points, I completely broke. The event transpired on the same day as Cupcake’s birthday party. I roamed the grocery store in search of chicken nuggets,  carrying her cookie cake and forcing the sobs to remain inside my throat. As I attempted to hide my red, swollen, tear soaked face in the self-checkout aisle, I felt every eye turn as the cash register rejected my payment. The cold computerized voice shouted, “Get assistance.” Unable to control the tears as well as the sounds fighting to accompany them, I felt what everyone was thinking, How could someone so beautiful be so sad? My thought was, Is there any way I can rid the Loser from my life? Logistically, it can’t be done. My next thought was, How would Jesus treat this situation? (It is embarrassing to admit that my first inclination was not to emulate my Lord and Saviour, but I am growing and I have more growing to do! Obviously.) I returned to the final meal Jesus would share on earth before heading to the cross. The final holiday He would celebrate this side of heaven. Jesus revealed to His disciples that one of them would betray Him and quite literally sell Him out. Everyone asked if they would be the one. No one suspected the culprit was Judas Iscariot. Why? Jesus loved them all. He treated them with kindness. Jesus knew Judas was the one, but He did not treat him differently than the others. He didn’t make snide comments about him, he didn’t ignore him at the dinner table, He didn’t purposefully avoid talking to him, and He didn’t make him take the hard and unwanted jobs. Jesus did not single Judas out. Getting back to Loser. Would Jesus avoid him? No. Would Jesus try to make him feel guilty or bad for what he had done through words and actions? No. Would Jesus lend him money? I seriously doubt it. Jesus would be loving toward Loser. He would meet Loser’s physical needs: bring food, be available to talk, give rides to court dates, help connect them with help/counseling/accountability partner or group/job placement, etc. Jesus would pray for Loser. Jesus would be there without judgement and expecting nothing in return. Real love that is true and pure comes from one source. The only way to truly give real love is to have that love.

A Birthday Letter to My Son in Heaven

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

One year ago today, you were born into heaven. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you. I know you are celebrating with our Father and my grandparents, Daddy’s grandfather whom he misses dearly, my uncle, your great uncle also born into heaven, my friends’ children born into heaven, and most recently a baby girl named Evelyn. You are so loved there. I want you to know that you are loved here as well.

After I lost you, one of my friends asked me what your name was and I didn’t have an answer for her. I asked Daddy and he didn’t have a name for you in mind. I looked at a calendar and noticed that the first letters in the months from July to November spelled “Jason.” I thought that was interesting and I immediately looked up its meaning (name meanings are important to your father and me). It means “Healer.” Even though at the time I was completely broken from losing you, “Healer” seemed to fit. I had no idea why at the time. Your Daddy liked it and we agreed: Jason Harris.

Months later, I spoke to a woman who needed to talk to someone. I listened to her. She talked to me with an air of contempt. How could I understand what she was going through? How could I realize the depth of her hurt? Did I even know pain? I told her about you. I told her that I almost died losing you. I told her that there were times I felt the crushing weight of guilt for surviving. I told her that I didn’t understand why you had to die and I got to live. I told her that I was confused and lost and ached almost continually. She cried. I told her that even though I didn’t understand, I KNEW God loves me. God has a plan. I told her that God’s love for me, what He did for me by sending Jesus to die on the cross, was the only thing that got me through the day. She cried harder. I prayed with her.

God used you to bring healing to that situation.

I don’t fully understand the cloud of witnesses and I don’t know if God allowed you to see that moment, but I wanted you to know. I am not holding a five month old in my arms. I am, however, holding you in my heart. You will always be a part of me. I know Cupcake will be so excited when she meets you in heaven. She wanted me to have another baby so badly. Your brother is too little to understand, but I know he will be happy to meet you and have a best friend waiting for him in heaven.

Thankfully, I asked God to give me a vision about whether or not I was pregnant. I took a pregnancy test that confirmed it before God gave it to me, so I wasn’t expecting one from Him. He gave me one anyway. He showed you to me. A baby with brown hair the same shade as his Daddy’s, with a smushy face, wearing a blue onesie. Just like the first time I saw Cupcake and like the vision God gave me about being pregnant at your uncle’s wedding, I will always treasure the vision of you in my heart.

I love you,

Mommy

Thirsty Thursday: A Word on Pain

Hunny and I have been through more hardships in the almost six years we’ve been married than the average person experiences in a lifetime. There have been times when I wondered why God kept allowing pain into our lives. I wondered why God did not intervene on our behalf.

But He did.

By allowing pain in our lives, God has shaped Hunny and me into more compassionate people. We are more loving people. We are more forgiving people. How could we be reflections of our Father in heaven without being loving, forgiving, and compassionate? It would be impossible.

Paul wrote to the Romans:

For I consider the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us! Romans 8:18 (Amplified Bible)

Paul knew a thing or two about pain. He was shipwrecked, stoned, beaten, and jailed. He felt like his sufferings were nothing compared with knowing Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:8).

Besides, I am not the only person on the planet going through a hard time. The Bible says that as Christians, we should bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). How can we help someone else if we’ve never been through difficulty? How can we support someone, how can we show God’s love to someone, how can we encourage someone if our lives are always perfect? Who would be able to relate to us? No one.

You may be going through a difficult time in your life. Look at it as the blessing it truly is, because when this storm is over, you’ll be able to help someone else through their storm. God will use you to be His arms to hug, His feet to go, and His mouthpiece to speak life and truth and love.

Thirsty Thursday: Totally Unprepared

You know how I’m always talking about how God answers prayers? Well, God answered a prayer that has left me an emotional mess. So much so that I have been trying to write this post (and others) for weeks and have found myself completely incapable of writing anything.

Mr. Bill & Mrs. Peggy are Cupcake and Yeeyum’s third set of grandparents. They work in the nursery at church and brag on the kids as if they were their own grandchildren (or great grandchildren). Mrs. Peggy became like a grandmother to me, which was wonderful considering I lost both of mine in 2009. It was nice to have someone to give advice to me and talk about when they were young and care about me.

Mr. Bill & Mrs. Peggy’s family live in the mid east and they have had their house on the market to sell for four years. We have known them almost two years and have been praying about their house selling for as long as we’ve known they wanted to move. Mr. Bill would always say, “We’re never going to move,” and jokingly, “Maybe I should pray to the devil and see if he answers my prayers.”

Even though I was praying for them to be able to move, I kept hearing Mr. Bill say they would never move and I started to doubt. People would look at their house and not make an offer on it. Or they would have a viewing scheduled and the people wouldn’t show up. One couple offered way less than the asking price, and Mr. Bill & Mrs. Peggy had to turn down the offer. When Mrs. Peggy told me last month that their house sold and that they would have to be out in a month, I jumped up and down, hugged her, and burst into tears.

Last night was the final time I would see them before the move. I didn’t know what to say other than I love you. Having them move away is like losing my grandmothers all over again. Painful, emotional, and difficult to discuss.

I don’t know when we’ll see them again. I do know that God will continue to answer their prayers, your prayers, and mine. And I’m praying that God will provide a way that we can visit them!

Happy Birthday, Grandpa

My Grandfather is 89 years old today. That may not seem like a big deal to you or anyone else for that matter, but it’s a huge deal to me.

While I was waiting for Hunny to pick me up from Jury Duty (Yeah, I had Jury Duty and didn’t tell you. I don’t tell you everything, you know!), I saw a World War II Memorial. I read the names and saw a familiar one, William Harris. William Harris gave his life for our country. Another William Harris, my Grandfather, fought overseas and survived. It blew me away. My Grandfather survived, came back home, took a government job, met my Nana, married her, raised a family, and currently lives in Florida.

What if he hadn’t survived? Who would my Nana have married? Would she have married? Would the child she had instead of my father marry my mother? Who would their children have been?

Not only that, but consider this: my Grandfather’s younger brother lied about his age to join the armed forces and fight in World War II. He felt he had a better chance fighting overseas than fighting at home with their alcoholic father. Enlisted in the Navy, as was my Grandfather, his boat was bombed by the Japanese Air Force. There were no survivors. Robert was only 16.

My Grandfather’s youngest brother is no longer living. He died years ago. He warned my grandparents that his wife and her family were trying to kill him. He died the next day.

Something else that makes my Grandfather’s long life an insanely huge deal is that he has Alzheimer’s Disease. He was diagnosed over ten years ago. He lives alone and his closest family members live ten to twelve hours away. He has an active social life. He recently wrote to me saying he finally wants to move from a house into a condo. Alzheimer’s hasn’t seemed to slow him down, even though it slowly and maliciously tortured my Grandmother for years.

My Grandfather and I aren’t close. He never remembers my birthday. He obviously doesn’t know I have a blog. But if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. If he had died after my father had been born, I wouldn’t be the same person. He helped mold my father who helped to mold me. Since the incident, I am acutely aware of how precious life is and how tomorrow is never promised. Whether or not I see my next birthday, I am so thankful that my Grandfather turns 89 today.

Thirsty Thursday: Rejoice – It’s a Choice

It has been said that you should keep positive people around you and keep negative people away. But what if people in your family are negative? What do you do when your boss is negative? How should we react when we are having a great day and a person in our life, who we can’t avoid, descends on you like a tornado of negativity, hostility, and criticism tearing everything down? I loose my happiness. I loose my good attitude.

I shouldn’t be that way.

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

It doesn’t say try to rejoice. It doesn’t say rejoice until someone treats me poorly. It says rejoice and be glad. You can choose to be glad when things are going badly. You can choose to rejoice when someone’s war path tramples your day.

How?

Sometimes it is a difficult choice. But you can do it. Here are some ways you can have a good attitude:

Sing – Wrap yourself up in the garment of praise. It doesn’t matter what you sing, sing to the Lord until your attitude changes. You can’t sing “Jesus Loves Me” without smiling when you’re through.

Smile – Even a fake smile will release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that naturally occur in your brain. When released, they increase your threshold for pain and increase your good mood.

Random Act of Kindness – Do something nice for someone out of the blue. It is a great feeling. Even better, do something nice for the person causing you strife.

Laugh – Laughing reduces stress and increases endorphin levels.

Gratitude – List on paper or aloud five things for which you are thankful. It is easier to have a good attitude when you see all the blessings you have been given.

Move Your Body – Dance, walk, run, jump, do something active!

I hope you choose to rejoice in the LORD and be glad today.