Monday, May 26, 2014

Something is going on......

The sense that something is going on..... Mmmmmmm. Some people are enamored by this in the form of great smells. Yeast in a bowl with warm water.... then with some flour and a little heat and .... I can smell something going on. Some people are captivated by the seasons, the earth changing her clothing and the animals in movement. Change happening right in front of us, having nothing to do with us and yet it is something going on. Change is magical, it's huge and fills us with hope. Seeing people change is amazing, amazing in a way almost greater than seeing new flowers open, leaves changing colors and bread rise. The story of my life thus far holds a moment that was an epiphany. And that epiphany caused a movement of bravery. And that movement changed the course of my life, the course of my children's lives and is amazing. However my days are not always spent being amazed at this great change. It is tempting as I see problems and issues that still lurk around the corners of my life to focus on those dark spots. At times they are all I can see. After years of demanded unattainable perfection I see little but what needs to be fixed. I utterly fail at relaxing, at acceptance and at being ok with myself. I've had little uplifting to say recently as I've been caught up in my own failures, my own humanity, the great need to change. And then I thought- I have changed. Change continues to happen in my life and it is because I desire it, and because it just does. I do not need to be the catalyst creating great change. I can breathe. There was little leading up to my epiphany that hinted at change. I see now the indications but at the time it was a decision made over the course of a few hours. So, my big Brave right now is to applaud myself and sing in the face of my dark spots. To breathe and let all that is going on happen. Be Brave!

Dark Corner
His problems were my problems. His inadequacies were mine. His emotions were upon me. I was the focus, I was the problem, I was supposed to be the helper, the solution. But all I did was cause him pain, anger and distraction. He would have me live as he saw fit, as he thought God saw fit. Or else. The hyper focus and intensity of being watched exhausted me. His attentions made me weary, his actions confused me. His happy terrified me. How could he be happy? How could he act so right? The first time I knew that bitter tasting emotion of resentment I remember returning his stare with it in my eyes. I knew what would happen, I knew he would remove the look from my eyes. His eyes met mine and I held his. My heart aches with this memory, I just.... I just wanted to be more than his property, his emotional toy. He threatened to remove my eyes. Pressing them into my head until I was sure they would pop. It hurt. And it was scary. I hadn't wanted that, I hadn't intended to cause that. 

Today I am thankful to live without fear of being harmed. Today I am thankful that I can play in the rain with my kids, laugh, kick balls around, write, work and cook without fear. Today I am thrilled I have seen change in my life. Today is a great day. 
You are precious. You are worth more than being someone's emotional and physical property. If you are being harmed, please find help. Domestic violence shelters are a great place to start looking for help as they have lots of resources. If you are unable to find one that is helpful, keep looking. Seek help out from anywhere that will hear you, a church, friends, co-workers. But be safe, be careful. Change can be scary- leaving my situation was the scariest thing I have ever done, but you are worth it. You are worth saving. 
You have my daily prayers, abigail

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Beautiful Motherhood

Every new mom is born just as their first child enters into the world. It is beautiful- the perfect picture of beauty. However, almost immediately a new mom is captured by an inability or the fear of the inevitable let down. The precious new baby, held so carefully, loved more absolutely than ever imagined creates in us the ability to fail. And to fail this new baby, our child- well it would be an epic fail. Welcome to motherhood. In my line of work I do a lot of reassuring to new moms. They are worried about breast feeding verses bottle feeding, worried they are "bad" moms for wanting sleep, worried for all the unknowns and possibilities good and bad. To be a mom is to be handed a task that appears to be a pass or fail. It appears to be a life long test of how "good" we are. 
The past two weeks I've watched myself fail epically in another area of my life. A fail that took a lot of my attention, a lot of my emotion and a lot of my logical thinking to step out of. And in the big scheme of my life it probably isn't epic though it has altered my opinions and thoughts and compassions.... Eh, enough on that though- sometimes too much introspection is just... too much. BUT, my point is that no other "fail" or "flop" or "flounder" holds as much weight for a woman as the fear of failing her children. My big fail this past week, I finally just breathed and thought- well it isn't the end of the world. It's ok. I have failed in far greater ways. I have failed my children in the past. That is my epic fail. And while I can remember years of failure I also know that now my children are in a way my greatest work. More time, effort and thought is put into my children than anything else I do. With research I plan balanced meals, provide exercise, play and learning. I hold them, I rock them, I listen to hours of Lego and Minecraft monolog. I play dress up and bake. I am a mother. My children have my best and my worst but above all they have me. They are totally and completely stuck with me. So regardless of whether you have failed or whether you will- you are a mother. This is not a pass or fail, it is an all-in life. Let's be moms, let's excel, let's fail- not because we don't mean to but because we care. Because we give our children everything we have. That kind of mothering is as beautiful as the day they were born. If you are anything like me all this "fail" talk might terrify you, bother you or make you that you need to tell me I haven't failed. But a failure is just an attempt at our best that wasn't best. Life is our attempt, we cannot even hope to get out of this life unaffected by failure. And there is my cue to tell you to Be Brave. Be beautiful. Be a mother. 
Happy Mother's Day

If your Mother's Day involves fear, pain and any form of abuse please get help. There could be no better day to reach out and honor yourself. Honor your mother, she wouldn't want this for you. Honor your children if you have them, they hurt seeing you hurt. Honor yourself- you are worth more than you can imagine right now. Get help

Many blessings- abigail

And Mom, you've given your all for 32 years to me and I'm deeply honored. Happy Mother's Day!
Oh and that lovely baby is my youngest...She is just too cute to not claim! 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tuna and the girls

Everyone and their puppy dog generally will have an opinion regarding your activities. Are you happy? Are you sad? Here is what they would do, here is what you should do. Add a past that includes domestic violence in the mix and it's amazing the advice you'll get handed. Some is well meaning, some is full of love and some is actually quite useful (though generally the most useful of advice comes when the other person doesn't realize they are giving advice, just words spoken that somehow finagle with something inside us and spur us on to a greater action or conclusion that we couldn't have arrived at ourselves...). Today I've been looking at the advice to appreciate and value where we have come from. Not necessarily digging up the past, just appreciating how far we've come. Blah blah blah blah. Sounds a bit like another platitude. But.... I made tuna last night for dinner. Tuna for dinner, on sourdough bread with barbecue chips. I made tuna fish sandwiches. And I wasn't afraid, I wasn't in trouble and no one accused me of not caring for my children. I gave them what I had, what I wanted, what they wanted and everyone was happy. Three years ago on a summer evening I had seen what was the consequences for thinking that tuna was ok for dinner- it wasn't pretty and I wore a turtleneck with long sleeves for a few days afterwards. So maybe there is something to seeing how far we've come. I wasn't triggered by remembering, I wasn't caught up in fear- I just smiled as I ate my sandwich. Thoughts like that bring a smile to my face. Thoughts like that make me remember I need to be grateful for today. Thoughts like that tell me it is worth hard moments to be Brave. 

Dark Corner
There are over 200 Nigerian girls that have been kidnapped. Taken from their school at gunpoint. Can you imagine their dark corner? Can you imagine what is happening to them right now as you read this? 

Everyone knows someone affected by violence. Just in the US alone one in four women are affected by domestic violence. Over 18% of women in the US have been through a completed or attempted rape. In 2006 78,000 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in the US.... reported numbers are thought to be 1/8th of what actually occurs. 
We may share platitudes, we may love on each other and care for each other- but there is so much violence in our world. Generally my Dark Corner is just what has happened to me, awful yes- but I'm alive. I've come so far. I eat tuna for dinner. The Nigerian girls, the children in the US, the women being hurt or raped right now.... they have a future. They need a future. They need our help.

If you are being hurt please find help. -abigail