My Girls

Today is dedicated to my girl gang. My tribe. My sisterhood of un-sisters. The women I need every minute of every day. The first texts I send each day, the first texts I send when life hits the fan. The place where my soul finds sanity & even better, a little insanity. I’m going to talk about 3 today but the truth is, my life is filled with amazing beautiful women.
Today was the birthday of one of the most beautiful women I know. She has been one of my best friends for only about 3-4 years at this point. You’ve read about her in the past. She is funny, wild, crazy, thoughtful & caring. She’s one of the people that makes my heart smile. When we make plans, I can only anticipate what kind of trouble we will get into. Nothing major, but why we are allowed into any Target store together is beyond me. I always expect to be stopped at the door & denied access. Lol. She brings out my wild side. I love & miss that side. (Believe it or not, I can actually be fun to be around.) I hope you had a Happy Birthday Chrissy. I can’t imagine doing this crazy life without you in my corner. I love you for every single little thing you are.

Saturday is the birthday of one of the other most beautiful women I know. This woman brings me strength in other ways. She builds my faith by refocusing my crazy back on Jesus in the midst of trials. She calls me to check in when we haven’t spoken in a while. She has a sweet kindness about her that fills a room, yet a mischievous streak as long as the earth is round. Michelle, I hope you have a Happy Birthday. I also can’t imagine doing life without you & I love you for every single thing you are.

Sadly, life isn’t always about Birthday cake and balloons. Sometimes we have to participate in things for the good of others. “Take one for the team” so to speak. These things may be no big deal to us at all. They may be inconvenient or out of our way, or maybe, it is something that may be hard physically or emotionally. The past few days have been difficult for me in this area. I volunteered to help a friend. I would never have sat back & ignored her need, but by stepping up, it threw me into places I was emotionally unprepared.

Since her story is not mine to tell, I cannot give details of the circumstances. It was however, an emotional situation. A “before/after” moment in her life. Leading up to that exact moment, she struggled with the strength to follow through. Via text I encouraged her as best as I could. I suggested she reach out to a friend to spend some time with. I knew I would be with her for 24 hours but she needed to be with others that also could love and support her. She reluctantly complied and met a friend for coffee.

I knew I needed to push her away from me for the weekend for a couple of reasons. She needed to see that there are others out there that love her as much as I do. She needed that unconditional acceptance. The reality of what she was about to do was really beginning to sink in with her and she was scared. I also had to push her away for myself. Because I could see what little emotional strength she had left, & knowing that I was going to be spending a solid 24 hours giving as much emotional strength as I could muster, I knew I didn’t have much in my reserve, because I rarely do. So to deal with her being on the shaky ground she was on concerned me. We made it through, with a lot of tears but we also managed to have some laughs.

When I returned from this excursion, people thanked me for being with her.



Thank you’s.

I don’t know how to accept rejection, help, praise, or even thanks. Yeah, I know. That sounds crazy. Is this your first day here? Well, read backwards. You’ll see I’m one step away. I met with my therapist and mentioned how uncomfortable I was with being praised for doing what I feel any friend should do for another friend. (The appointment was already set. I didn’t need to rush for one after my crazy kicked in) She asked why it made me angry. I said because I think everyone should be more aware of people’s needs and if we all worked to meet others’ needs, maybe the world wouldn’t be so awful. She asked why it was so strong in me. Ugh. (Cue my tears) The follow up questions are always the worst. It’s because my whole life, the people that should have built my trust foundation were busy tearing it down. So I don’t feel like anyone will be there to meet my needs. So I don’t ask. And that reiterates my lack of trust so the cycle continues.

Apparently the way to fix this self preservation (aka destructive behavior) is to change my behavior. Seems a bit odd. I have trust issues because of broken trusts but to fix it, I have to trust people.

So, bear with me. I may be extra needy while I work through this. While I act like I can do everything on my own & I’m super woman, I am not. I have needs. Often times going unmet because I’m afraid of asking for help & getting rejected. But I am going to be working on this so…

To my girl gang-I love you all more than words.

Till the next time…Love the uglies, yours and theirs.

Life Change Story

My church is turning 4 next week. I was asked to write a life change story. I figured since I’ve been slacking on my posts, I would share it here…

There is a group of my RLC peeps that have joked for years about needing an RLC commune. Not for crazy Kool-Aid, or rolls of quarters, but because we are at our best together. We fill the needs in each other that may be missing from other friends and family. We had discovered how to worship Christ through our laughter, feeding frenzies (Baconfest), unconditional love and, oh yeah, Francis Chan.

How has my life changed? The more accurate question would be “How hasn’t it?”

Never in my imagination would I have dreamt that 3 + years ago when I walked through that door, tears rolling down my face, that I was just facing the beginning. My family was falling apart and I needed to find God. Fast. I did. In the faces, hugs, prayers, meals and friends shared at RLC.

I had lost my husband, my home, my son. Think Titanic, sinking fast, but all I was able to see was the tip of the iceberg. RLC became my grounding point. I could anchor myself in the friends I had made and know that I was being covered in prayer, that one phone call would net a chain reaction of love, or help, which I would desperately need. God showed up in my life in a huge and powerful way through my RLC life.

I began serving at RLC about 7 months after I walked my crazy through the door. I found a true fit in my position. After 3 years, I still feel honored to find myself part of the First Impressions Team. I look forward to Sunday mornings and greeting each of my peeps with a smile, maybe a hug. I love bending down to face a child and watch them smile at me or explain their week. I think most of all, I love standing back and watching my friends make new friends as connections are made crossing boundaries through commonalities.

Through RLC, I have learned and grown so many ways. I have learned how to play Nertz. I have learned how to sell cheese on Craigslist. I have had the “Summer of Matilda” turn into the “Season of Matilda,” where I refuse to say no, as long as it is moral & legal, pushing my own comfort zone to the enjoyments of Emily, Sara, Kira, Madison, and many others. I gave random stranger hugs, I took myself to new heights, literally terrifying myself. I gave a recorded testimony of my small group experiences. I learned how to seek God in prayer. I learned how to love unconditionally, as Christ loves me. I have learned how to fight against the need in me to repress my pain and work towards true healing. I seek help as needed and no longer allow my pride to try and force me to do it alone. I argued for my faith nose to nose with someone I loved. I cry in public, maybe more than anyone else wants to see but as I find necessary. I have learned to accept love and compliments, as well as see the good within myself. I began a blog (it was my secret. Lol) I may not be sharing it with people yet, but it is out there. I find myself driven to be the Jesus in the lives of everyone around me. I may have epic failures but I just realign and continue on with that quest. And in my darkest moments, I learned that it’s ok to be broken. That God will meet me there. That my heart is His greatest accomplishment in my life. I have learned that no matter how broken and empty I feel, I have love. The greatest of loves.

RLC is so much more than a church. It has become my family. I know that God placed me here to save my life. He placed me at RLC to give me family. He placed me here to give me purpose. I may not know exactly what that purpose is yet, but I can assure you, I can’t wait to find out! And the journey to get there…well, I’m packed and ready!!

Thank You RLC! Thank You PJ & Jen! Thank You God!!

“Happy Birthday” Dearest Andrew

The last few weeks have been quite emotional for me. I can not go into all of the details quite yet, pending some investigations. It’s always easier to talk about something once it is completed. Right now, it would be a lot of speculation so I’m going to hold off. Just remind me later that I promised details.

So, as I’m sure you have guessed by the title, today was Andrew’s birthday. He should have turned 34 today. Yes, for all of you paying attention, I’m 42. So what? Lol.

Last year, I bought him a dozen cupcakes, 12 different flavors. I bought him concert tickets to see Brantley Gilbert because Aaron Lewis was opening & Andrew LOVED Aaron Lewis. We had so much fun at that concert. But we always had fun. It was part of why I loved him.

I am a cheap laugh, a laugh whore, if you will. I can giggle at almost anything. And laughing is my drug of choice. If you make me laugh, I’m yours for life. And make me laugh he did. Constantly. If we were on the phone, I would rarely speak because he would get me laughing right away & keep telling me story after story. If we were together, he would also tell me stories or he would tickle me. But my favorite was his dancing. Oh no, not because he was good. He was horrible.

One night I was feeling a bit cranky. I don’t recall why. It’s not important. But he turned on the radio, told me to dance. We did this all the time so it wasn’t a strange suggestion. (We typically expressed our feelings through music because he was emotionally handicapped. It was safest for him this way.) So this one particular night he asked me to dance & feeling extra smarmy, I said no. I sat on the couch & pouted. So he begins to dance. A horrible, tall, awkward, white man dance that no eye should see. But I saw it. And I began to giggle. And the more I giggled, the more he danced. Finally I was cracking up. When the song was over, I said to him “you are crazy. Don’t quit your day job.” He wrapped me in his arms, asked “Did I make you laugh?” Giggling like a school girl, I answered “yes.” He replied “that’s all I wanted.” And I was twitterpated. (See Bambi)

Today was a monumental first in the line of firsts in grief. Last week was the 6 months mark and today was his birthday. His family & oldest friends went to the gravesite tonight. I was not invited. That hurt more than I expected it to, more than my brain says it should. I miss him too. I hurt & ache from his loss. But because we were a private relationship, I grieve alone. I have a few friends & family that understand (maybe they don’t & pretend very well) how deeply I still hurt. But mostly I cry alone at night because it’s easier than trying to explain to someone something they never saw. Does that even make sense? His friends & family knew about me. We had talked on speakerphone numerous times. I would “hi mom!” or “hi dad!” from across the room at least once a week. His mom said she would quit calling on Thursday evening because that had become her normal night to call but we were always together on Thursday. He teased her & told her I was getting tired of the interruption. Then he told her the truth. I was glad she called. I never felt she was an interruption. She was his mother. She was part of who he was. She created this man I loved & I loved watching him talk to her. He adored her. He wanted her life to be easy & perfect.

It breaks my heart to know how different today was from last year. For Andrew’s family & friends. For me. I understand why I wasn’t invited. I am a reminder of their loss. They don’t “know” me other than the girl he spent a lot of time with and was always on the other end of the phone. It still stings. I will not allow any animosity towards them to creep in. I’m not that girl. I will only continue to pray for them, I know some of their pain. I’m not his mother or father, brother or oldest friend. But I was with him day in & day out. I had fallen in love with that goofy horrible dancer.

Happy Birthday Baby. I pray your party in heaven was lovely. I hope the cake was red velvet. I hope you ate some bang bang shrimp. I hope you watched me work really hard today. I held myself together almost completely. Just a few tears fell before I crawled into bed. I love you still. I miss you much. Good night sweetheart.


Matilda Grace

Dancing in the Rain

I know what you are thinking right about now… Has this pathetic woman EVER had a joyful moment?

Why, yes, I have. Thank you for asking. I have had many. So, so many that to tell you all of them would take, uhm, let’s see…about 35 years. See, simpleton’s have the uncanny ability to find a smile, see the beauty or laugh in the face of danger when others are unable. I genuinely laugh out loud a lot. This is not to say that I am “happy” in this current season of my life. But I know that I am still alive, people are counting on me to stay in the game. So, I play it. I love my friends & family, they bring joy to my life, smiles to my face & laughter to my heart. Why else would God have picked them to be part of my life?

For example, earlier this evening, I was talking to my fabulous roomie. (Insert BIG heart!) We were reminiscing about our childhoods & the silly things we did. I mentioned that when I was younger, “back in my day,” my friends & I would walk to a little carry out with a couple of dollars & come out with a bag full of candy. My best friend at the time, Greta, was a long legged, pasty white blonde girl. I was able to tan in a few minutes, had dark hair, yet also had long lanky legs. We were yin & yang. Peanut butter & jelly. Apples & oranges. We would proudly take our money to the store & leave with a bag of candy for later but what we really treasured were the fresh plums. We would each get one & eat it as soon as we left the store. Silly how that plum was so perfectly delicious every time. We were friends for 15 years. Every summer we would get together for sleep overs & we would require a trip to the store to pick out a plum. When life was too busy for sleepovers, we would separately, but together enjoy a plum.

This evening I made a quick trip to the grocery. (If you knew how little I did this, you would be very impressed.) As I was coming out, the sky began to flicker & large, hard raindrops began to fall. A man walked past me, threw his arms up & smiled “Great timing we had!” I laughed in agreement with him, & if it had just held off 5 more minutes, I could have been home inside. As I’m loading my car with my food, the rain starts coming down harder. It hits me. (NO! Not the rain! Well, technically, yes, the rain, but that’s not where I was going…) As a child, I loved to play in the rain. When it was summer time, & it would rain, I would take off my shoes, splash around in the puddles & dance in the rain. What happened to that girl? Why is it that as an adult, I tuck my head, run for cover & get frustrated that this cleansing water would dare pelt me in the face? So I slowed down. I slowly walked my cart to the corral. I strolled back to my car. I lifted my face to the sky. My roommate sent me a text to tell me she would meet me outside to help with the food. I ignored it. I walked in with some of the items & she said “let me help!” I replied “I’m embracing the rain. It’s a beautiful night!” She laughed, put on flip flops & we both went back out to finish.

As we were walking down the sidewalk, I turned to her and screamed out “OH HEY!!! I forgot to tell you!! Under this bush is a gigantic toad!! I saw him when I was coming in!” Sure enough, toadie was still there. We both bent over & said “hey mr. toadie” then casually continued to the car to get the rest of the groceries. Had I been rushing, I would have never seen him. That may not sound like much to most of you, but I live in the city. I don’t get to see much wildlife except for the birds that leave poo on my car & the occasional squirrel. A toad is a big deal. Plus, I have always had a “thing” with God. If I’m on the “right” path in a new train of thought or place in my life, He shows me some wildlife. This has gone on for 15 years. I usually get a deer, I’m quite fond of them. But I will take the toad.

When I got back inside, I opened my bedroom blinds before crawling into bed to write this post. That way, I could enjoy the flashes of lightening escorted by the booming thunder. I love a good storm. Maybe we have had so many this year because I keep missing my toads & God is trying to tell me that I’m on the right path. Maybe none of that is related to anything about my life at all. Maybe I’m just a total goober that used to dance in the rain. Maybe I just needed to take a shower. Who knows?!

That’s all for now. Have a beautiful week. Dance in the rain. Love your uglies. Hug your friends & family.