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Showing posts from 2014

Life Lesson #15 ~ FAMILY IS EVERYTHING!

I’ve learned something really important over the last four months and that’s the importance of family. Many times we get overwhelmed in the process of planning family gatherings, especially over the holidays but the truth is family reunions are made for renewing bonds’. In 2014 I was blessed to have taken part in two family reunions and one rather large family gathering. Looking back on all three,  I realize how important these bonds truly are, not just in theory, but in real life experience and how they bring us together. Family is one of the greatest connections we have. We’re made and many times defined by how we see ourselves through our family’s eyes. Our families impact and sculpt us, sometimes through destructive and turbulent ways and other times with stillness, peace and harmony. Their very act of accepting or rejecting us can decide the direction we take in life. Webster’s Dictionary defines connections as this:The act of connecting, the state of being connected, one that co…

Chapter #2, Life Lesson #14 ~ STRENGTH IN CONFLICT

Have you ever felt as if you have so much to say and yet nothing at all? I’ve been there for the last month. Countless thoughts rushing through my brain over and over again. Each time I'd attempt to catch them, the words floating from thought to thought inside my head would just fall short each and every time.  No matter how hard I'd try to utter and vocalize what was actually swimming around inside my head up there nothing came out making sense. Believe me I’ve had lots to say during the last month, topics ranging from Joshua’s 18th birthday to an amazing family reunion and Thanksgiving but nothing has emerged clearly. I promise, I will get to those subjects in the next few weeks, as all are equally important for me to share with you, but for now, in this moment I know without a shadow of a doubt where my words are leading me. The floodgates of my heart came down very quickly and that’s when it happened. Last night as I tried to sleep I knew what I needed to say and how I wou…

Life Lessons #13 ~ FINDING JOY

We can’t always predict which turn’s life will take. Many times the journey life carry’s us on require detours down dark, sometimes even tragic, disastrous, calamitous, and yes catastrophic roads. Our paths may be obstructed; the roads uneven and gloomy. Finding joy in the midst of our fears can almost be overwhelming if we're really being honest. Life, on any given day can be overtaken by ominous dark clouds but that doesn’t mean our joy is gone. There are days when the happiness we expected to experience has gone MIA. For one reason or other happiness can be lost, misplaced, or simply buried under a mound of difficulties. The thing about joy is it’s never really lost. Sure we may think joy has disappeared but the truth is joy is always inside us, we just have to choose to unwrap it. The quality joy offers us is deeper than anything happiness can ever offer. The reality is happiness is an automatic emotion to something we think is good for us. The hard part about our emotions is …

Life Lesson #12~ FRIENDSHIPS TIE US TOGETHER

Life Lesson #11 ~ LIFE OUTSIDE THE BOX

I can’t tell you how many times Johnny and I have been asked how we've raised such chill kids. To be honest, I’m never quite sure how to answer this question. Our boys are good kids, with big hearts and a view on life which many times are very different from their peers. Growing up in the shadow of cancer’s grip has a way of keeping life in perspective. Our family story is not unique; it’s just full of random chapters, out of order, which have ultimately shaped our views and perspectives.
Johnny and I were both raised in small, close families. I was brought up as an only child, yet our home was full of people on any given day. My parents were in ministry so I learned early how to share, love unconditionally and to roll with the ups and downs. Johnny is simply a very easy going man with a big heart. From the time we were married we made the decision to bring our kids up in a way they would never fear us or doubt our love for them. To this day our dinner table is a place of laughter,…

Life Lesson # 10 ~ ACCEPTANCE & THE BARE TRUTH

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Life Lesson #9 ~ HAPPINESS & FAMILY TIES

Eight years ago I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. To say life handed me a curve ball is a gross understatement. I was devastated, in shock and lost for about a week. I spent my time replaying those four little words trying to figure out my next move. I looked around, wondering, what was the point of any of it, cancer at 32 years old, married less than a decade to the love of my life. I'm an only child, what was this going to do to my parents? And our boys, oh, and what this monster was going to steal from them. But in asking myself those questions, I realized I had much more to fight for than just my own life; I was fighting for my all of my family, for my children and their futures. Besides, who was this tipsy, drunken beast anyway, trying to tell me what to do and where to go? Huh, that wasn’t going to happen, not if I had any say in the matter! Anyone who knows me knows I’m a fighter, I don’t give up easily and cancer was not going to take me down without a fi…

Life Lesson #8 ~ LIFE'S LITTLE MOMENTS

What comes to your mind when you think of an anniversary, possibly a birthday, graduation, cancer recovery, maybe a personal triumph, simply an accomplishment of any kind or the loss of a loved one? Life, in itself, is made up of small, beautiful, painstaking and mostly complicated moments. These moments are set in time, more than dreams and always wide open to interpretation. Our moments of celebration in life can be remembered as particularly breathtaking, brilliant, beautiful and pure or positively slanted in our perceptions, altered and crashed in the wreckage of our best laid plans. 
Life Lesson # 8: Life can be amazing, full of little moments worth celebrating!
That is, if we can keep from being caught up in our opinions, full of good intentions, so busy making plans for everyone else and ourselves, maps included, we forget to live in the little moments life offers us along the way. While we’re busy out planning, life is continuing, moving with meaningful points of intersection, a…

Life Lesson #7 ~ FORGIVENESS

Have you ever been so hurt, you had no clue where to begin to unravel the mess you’re in? In those moments our joy seems almost suffocated and choked out of us doesn’t it? We hesitate to step outside of the gray zone because it’s safe. We can see the right and wrong of our actions, we watch our joy crushed and fleeting and still we continue to use our words, our actions and brokenness as weapons of retaliation. Even worse, our tongues inflict hurt not only into the lives of those we love but deep into our own hearts in the process. When joy flees, and un-forgiveness moves in, all our hidden scars and hurts come to light, especially the ones festering just under the surface. We draw lines, wrong or right and worse we stop listening, our compassion flees and lives are shattered. 
Our insecurities in life tend to guide us more than we know, pushing our buttons, lashing out at our joy, stealing our ability to relate and love. We find ourselves overtaken by the hurts we have suffered, the w…