Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Great Long Bucket List

Mountains to climb, countries to visit, degrees and money to acquire, inventions to invent.... oh the bucket lists go on and on. But what will happen to us when tomorrow is all we have? The last few months for me have been laced with thoughts of death. No- don't get scared, I'm fine. But as I watched what I've come to call, my "death date" come and go this year seems to hold for me a heightened sense of mortality. Now mind you I'm very aware of how fragile life is, all one needs to do is watch the news or in my case remember what strangulation feels like to realize that life is precious. (Please know I wrote that last sentence with a smile on my face. It almost makes me, well I take that back- it does make me giggle a little bit to think of the things I could write. Can you imagine  if I actually wrote all of what happened? I do fear that I would scare everyone off! And with my odd sense of humor that tonight is funny.... ah hum, ok... pulling myself together again...) Tonight after dinner I chased my children around with a light saber. Five giggly squirrely children running like crazy as their mom pretended to know how to wield a light saber.... It was awesome. I am so thankful for my children. They complete my bucket list everyday. My bucket list is kinda short- live bravely. There isn't a day that goes by that they don't inspire or require me to make a choice to be brave. Confronting the past must be done so we can live. Playing in the present must be done so we can live. Planning for bigger and better futures must be done so we can live. Death is so close but a brave life is here and somehow it takes both to keep us living. Be Brave my friends!

Dark Corner
We were at his family's home. Extra people around, laughter and talking. But I knew better. Every time he heard me or saw me his eyes would become hard. My heart was racing. I looked around and kept looking around but no one would have believed me. I am not sure why I was so sure he would kill me if I spoke but I was SURE. Well beyond my feeling- he had said he would and his eyes.... and I was so afraid.... The fear of being harmed is crippling- even the memory of it makes me shrink in my chair. A bit later he found me in the kitchen. No one was there. He slammed my head into the fridge. My eyes were begging him to stop. Someone walked in and he turned and smiled, making a joke as he walked out of the kitchen. I looked down, afraid of my tears, afraid of what the person thought and terrified someone might say something to me that would evoke a response. All of those things would bring an outcome I might not be able to manage or control, an outcome that would involve some form of hurt, some form of pain and crying.... always I had crying. 

Brave is not easy. Brave is not easy and Brave is not easy. This life does not seem to be made for us to embrace easy but rather the hard, the difficult and the great. If you are being hurt you are not living, you are just responding to someone else's misplaced bad behavior. And you, whoever you are, whatever you have done with your life DO NOT DESERVE SOMEONE ELSE'S BAD BEHAVIOR. Get help. There are lots of services out there, the best most conclusive seems to be domestic violence shelters- as they will assist you with information, counseling and all forms of advice for how to make your freedom permanent. There are also lots of amazing people that are out there that will help you on your journey- sometimes you just have to start looking for them and be honest in your need for help. Be Brave, it's the best way to be. - abigail

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Great Spill

Everyone knows what pain is, everyone hurts, everyone falls, everyone is spoken to harshly or unjustly. But not everyone knows what it is like to be physically harmed by another. It happens far too much, far too often and is disgusting but my point is not how few or how many know it. But rather that someone recently spoke of physical hurt. They had no personal knowledge or experience and that felt offensive. In that moment I was reminded of how I know, how I've had to know and how horrible it is. And I got angry. I don't tend to let anyone know when I get upset. I tend to be an internal processor, an over thinker, a muller. But this time I HAD to, I had to say something. I was so upset my words came out in such a jumbled mess- because something else- a deeper and much much more sensitive hurt came spilling out instead. I stood there irritated that I wasn't telling that person of my knowledge of pain, I didn't tell them much of anything I had intended to. I just opened my mouth and heard myself, heard myself exposed, real and hurting. Days later I am still mulling over what spilled out. Have you ever seen those practical joke cups? The ones that have a plastic puddle of coffee or soda under a glass? That is what this feels like. It is so thick, so solid of an issue that I'm sitting on top of my cup, looking down at the plastic puddle of fear, hurt and intensity of emotion. I cannot clean it up. No paper towel, no small words, no self medication of any kind is going to clean up this mess. Distraction therapy just won't work. And so, I sent a thank you out today. For the words that spilled this cup, the words that left me unable to even hear more- I'm thankful for them. I'm thankful for the patient and caring response my purely emotional response received. Thankful that my anger wasn't put down but merely heard. So..... I think I'm going to chose to be brave and maybe... do something about my spill. I'm not sure what it will be but I'm going to watch it until I know. I'm going to know there are answers, peace and a presence that cares. I have to choose this. My plastic cup with its plastic spill demands it. Be Brave, be kind, be what today requires. 

And if you are being hurt please please get help. There are lots of kind people that can and will help you, so many resources- you can live. You can be safe. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


"Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step." author unknown
I read this little "phrase of the day" and thought- I tip toe. I may write about being brave. I may talk about having courage and what we can do. I may challenge the silence that we so often live in.... but I tip toe. I tip toe through my memories, they scare me. I tip toe with my kids, they kinda scare me too or maybe just overwhelm me with the enormous amount of parenting I need to learn. I tip toe when I'm thinking and questioning what I'm doing. And I tip toe when I'm sad. Ok well, probably not the last one- I tend to sit down and have a little cry when I'm sad and then I tip toe. But you know what I've learned from all my tip toeing? That it is possible to keep moving forward even if the steps are so tiny you wonder if they are steps. That tip toeing can teach you to trust and teach you to be wise. And that there are lots of wonderful things that surround us. In the slow movement of a tip toe it is easy to see the care being offered, given and shared. After a moment standing/hiding on my front porch I get to see the mama bird that has built a nest right above the porch. Being overwhelmed with a lack of sleep at work I tip toed to a place where I could just breathe, breathe and know where I am. And today as I was consoling my tearful six year old I tip toed closer to her and there was a second that was unexplainable, perfect and ..... I don't know exactly even what it was but I do know if I hadn't been slow I would have missed that little second. I will always love running. I will always prefer to jump first and ask questions later but.... this tip toe thing might just be worth keeping. Be Brave!

Dark Corner
He spoke and told me he would rather die than live and that was my fault. So he wouldn't eat, he would just work "for me" and slowly die. For two days he didn't eat, didn't drink- just cleaned and remained emotionless. He acted as he expected me to act and yet he was .... well I never did figure out what the intention was. But my reaction was sympathy, guilt and a desire to do whatever I needed so as to not be the "cause". Somehow this hurt just as badly as any bruise ever did. I was just as afraid. The second night I sat alone, so scared of when he would stop and return to being angry, when he would not be able to go on and then kill me instead. I was right that he would stop but he chose not to kill me. "It isn't time yet." he said as he let me breathe again. He decided that my punishments would continue and that everything was still my fault. My mind couldn't follow his and yet that was the demand. I could not understand. I could not see my sin as he saw it. I could not see myself as he saw me. But I knew his hand was heavy, his feet were quick and he was coming for me again. 

Ignorance. It isn't a quality or word that we like to have. But to some extent there is so much we are ignorant about. It doesn't have to be negative but it does speak to so much that we need to learn. We need to know what domestic violence is. One in four women in the US will know domestic violence during her life. One in four. That is a staggering statistic. We can't continue to live in ignorance. Domestic violence does not adhere to laws, rules, social classes, economics, education or religious backgrounds. Dear friends lets help. Lets find ways to offer hope, to speak against abuse and assist those that need help. If you are being hurt please get help. You are not alone. Abuse doesn't end unless something is done about it. Even a tip toe is forward movement. - abigail

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Solace is such an awkward word. It is sister to solitude and brother to peace. And it can be found. It is a way, a place and an inward outlook. Solace is quiet and loud, present and unattainable but always, always seems to be just there when things break. When things get hairy. When there is not a reason, a correct action or behavior or thing that you can possibly do- there will be solace. 
April 11th marked the date my ex husband had set for when I should die- or rather within this year. But regardless that date held a lot of chaotic emotions for me. Emotions that were surprising, unyielding and that I was truly unready for. Leading up to that date, which was also my birthday, my days were unsettled and frantic, my nights were distraught and fearful. I didn't sleep much. And then the week happened. My children and I all got sick, so very sick that there was a lot of distraction in the form of puking- so I did a lot of cleaning, mindless but careful cleaning. It was merciful, it was solace. My ever wonderful church kept close watch and was careful to remind me that they were there. My ever helpful neighbor was there to listen and never far. The day passed, the week passed and here we are. 
As this is Easter weekend I wonder how God felt when it was over. Had he found solace in the water? Solace in the midst of the trial? Solace just that it was over. Or maybe none of that, I don't know. Bad doesn't last forever. Eight years ended. These past few weeks were endured as will be this year. And we have a risen Savior. Be Brave my friends. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Figuring Out the Chaos

The chaos. Do you know it? It blows in like an afternoon storm. It thunders as if the clouds were breaking the sky. Chaos cannot be measured, it is not given value or respect though we all fear it. We all attest to wanting to have drama free lives. We make claims to seeking peace, we use words that tame and lame what actually is happening. We survive chaos, we hang on through chaos, we wait for it to pass or sometimes we get caught up in it and become part of the chaos. And while the chaos is occurring we wish for the still calm of our soul at rest. We wish for a life of stillness. I've often in the last two years wondered when the chaos would end. It has ebbed here and there, it has moved away but continues to return. I thought for a long time that it was due to the five children that cry out "mommy" with chirpy little voices. And they do create a level of chaos in my life. But the chaos, the crazy, the swirl of events and people and struggle and worries.... they are just part of life. I've been fighting to find a still life. I've been striving to create a life that is measured, calm, describable even. But that is not what is here, what is real or what can be, at least for now. The still and the calm- it is inside. And knowing that, I think I might just be able to embrace and possibly enjoy the chaos. I missed a retreat with my church this week. I was beyond disappointed. I had looked forward to the night away, to the quiet, to adult conversations and to the early morning walk. Instead I had five chirpy kids that needed me here. But, I found, in the midst of a screaming match between my daughters over who had a fever (seriously as if we all didn't know that they both did ....ahhhh)- I found that the calm inside of me was somewhere I could reach. It is a place I can live out of. So chaos, you tire me but I'm so thrilled you live here- you certainly make my life interesting. And future, you scare me as I have no idea where you will lead me and oh I wish I did so I could be better prepared, but I will take you as you come as well. Take on the chaos, Be Brave!

Dark Corner
When he smiled he shared the sun. Have you ever met someone like that, that had the ability to make you forget everything bad with just their smile? It's amazing. It's amazing and dangerous. When he was happy my world was perfect. I wasn't deluded into thinking he would never hurt me again, I just was happy because he was. His happy made me hope. 
And then, he looked at me, his eyes lost the shine and seemed to become hard as if they weren't real. We were in the car. Two of the children were crying. Wailing actually. He yelled at them to stop and then turned and accused me of making them cry. To him they were upset because I was not happy, because I was irritated. I was irritated but trying so so very hard to be emotionless. His fist slammed into my left temple. My head hit the car window. And again. And again. My mouth was open, I looked down and saw the drool on my shirt. My head hurt. His eyes were small. He wasn't done. His fist hit me in the chest over my heart. I couldn't breathe. I doubled over and wondered if I just stayed looking at my feet it would stop. I felt myself breathe. We arrived where we were going. His eyes were small for me. He smiled at everyone else. 

If your chaos involves violence and being hurt please get help. Every nine seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. And that is the estimate. If you are being harmed please get help. An abusers chaos is not the chaos of life, it is not something you can or should embrace. An abuser creates danger and fear. You are worth a life that can be embraced, that can be lived and rejoiced in! You are worth a life that is whole and without secrets. Be Brave! abigail