Friday, March 17, 2017

An Irish Tradition



Every February I start looking for Liam's St. Patrick's Day shirt. I have come to LOVE this random little tradition we've created. Something about it feels so different than his Christmas PJ photos and his Halloween costume pictures. This is just a fun day outside wearing green and talking about leprechauns! Nothing big about it, but its something we've done every year. Well, KC weather has not been playing nice lately and so I did the photographer thing and have been watching for a warm day. Thankfully I got one about a week before St. Patrick's Day, and good thing we seized the opportunity, because it literally SNOWED twice since then. Spring break? Spring JOKE is more like it. Bugh. Today though, it is gorgeous. We got lucky! ;)

But! Here are my favorites from our park play that day. My boy is growing so big. He's got his own little hipster style and such personality. I adore every inch of his FACE! OH my goodness. I get lost in his dimples. Lord help me!
After such a rough week (and thank you all for your support throughout it), I needed some self care. And I've come to know that sometimes, my best self care comes in the form of taking photos and editing photos... So maybe that's another reason I was thrilled it was time to venture outdoors and grab my camera for our little tradition.  Or maybe its that I get to drag out this holiday an entire week because I just finished editing photos last night. Either way, wear green or get pinched! Happy St. Patrick's Day! :)

Living loved,
T

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Honor the Broken Pieces

This week is a rough one. Its spring break - it should be all fun and sun, right? Not exactly. For all of you who have followed my journey the past 14 months, you know that the last thing its been is easy. But I have found such blessing in this storm. From discovering that I’ve got friends stronger and truer than at any other point in my life, that I am braver than I ever thought possible, and that I am RESILIENT… a phoenix just brushing off ashes - these are victories. These are blessings. And these are the things I have to keep reminding myself of this week. 

I have officially lived in Kansas City for two years. On March 13, 2015 my little family relocated AGAIN and I embarked on a new chapter in an already challenging time in my life. I look back on that time and I remember the fear and the excitement. I remember questioning a lot of things. I remember the hope I had to build community for myself - to drop the feelings of isolation - and to feel like I could keep my head above water. I built community. I made friends. I gave random park moms my phone number. I joined groups. I felt safer and more loved and more supported. You might be thinking, “but those are great things, why is that a rough date? or rough time to remember?”… the answer is that I desperately wanted those great things because I hadn’t had them for so long. I was drowning in the unhealthiness of my life and I was too afraid to leave the bad behind because I didn’t have support close by. I didn’t feel safe and loved in my every day - in my close proximity. Part of that was the shame I walked beneath stifled my ability to truly open up to those who might have given me what I needed. I was isolated. And those feelings flood over me and break my heart all over again when I think of that date. I sat in my pain for so long because I didn’t know anything any different. And all the bad came on so slowly that I didn’t notice until it was suffocating me. I remember my 11th grade chemistry teacher talking to my class about putting a frog into boiling water. He’ll jump right out. He knows it is hurting him. But if you put that same frog in that same pot of water at room temperature and slowly bring it to a boil, he’ll sit right in it until he dies. Hi world, I’m Dying Frog. Nice to meet you. That’s what I think of when I think of March 13, 2015. I think of my impending separation only 9 months later. I think of the hell I went through before and after it. I think of the home we moved into that day and the dreams I had for it and for the next one - the home I’d built in my head a thousand times over. I see all the broken pieces when I think of that date. 
And then March 15, 2014 rolls around and I refuse to open Timehop because even though it will show an incredibly fun day taking photos of my cousin’s precious baby boy, I will forever know it as the day my marriage broke without my knowledge… without my permission. I wouldn’t find out about this for another month or so…. but when something breaks and the pieces are lying shattered on the floor, reflex is to fix it - to put it back together. Make it like new. Because of this reflex, I know the impact point. I know ground zero. It was 3 years ago. And most days, I still feel its effects. Maybe in the way that I wake up by myself and I don’t want to. Maybe in the way that I worry if my little boy will have a male figure in his life that he trusts enough, that is healthy enough, to give him Godly advice a boy might not want to ask of his mom when he’s 12, or 16, or 20. The effects are far reaching… the ripples keep expanding… and I know on what day it exploded. 

For the following 2 years and 9 months, I fought hard for something I thought I had to have. Even when I felt I was the only one fighting for it.  I thought that all the broken pieces had to be put back just perfectly. No cracks. No chips. No evidence of disaster. I couldn’t see my life any differently than what it already was. I lost my worth. I lost me. Moments before my last froggy breath, I jumped out of my boiling water. I’ve been returning to room temperature ever since. 

A very wise friend of mine shared something with me a few weeks ago. In Japan, tea ceremonies are a really big deal. Every movement is so completely thought out and ultimately about preparing tea for another person completely from the heart. Beautiful bowls and cups are used in these ceremonies. And when one of these bowls or cups get broken, they don’t throw it out, but they don’t glue it back together with the intent to hide the fractures and breaks either. Instead, they bond the broken pieces back together with melted gold. 

You see… the thing that makes these bowls and cups so beautiful ARE the cracks - the breaks and fractures. The imperfections. These gorgeous cups and bowls are sought after treasures, even more so with all the cracks and breaks. My marriage did break. But not necessarily on March 15. That’s when someone else’ actions broke ME. And over the last few months, in my journey toward healing and growth, in my desire to dive deeper into the Word and believe in my heart of hearts what God says about me, I realize that I am being put back together.  The Lord is still crafting me using melted gold. I’m no longer trying to hide my breaks, cracks, chips and fractures. I am who I am because I’ve been hurt. Deeply. I’ve been betrayed repeatedly. And I am no longer willing to be like a frog slowly boiling to death. I’m treasured. I’m valued. I’m highly sought after. I just have to fix my eyes on the One who’s chase after me truly matters. 

This week is hard. It is full of days that hurt to remember. This week also includes the birthday (March 16th) of Micayla, my sister, who no longer gets to celebrate here on Earth. So this week, I have to remind myself that I’m growing, I’m healing, I’m resilient. And when I’m feeling bogged down by the betrayals, the hurts and the tears, I’ll sit with those feelings and I'll honor those broken pieces that are being painted with gold. GOLD. Because I'm even more beautiful for having been broken. 

Living loved, 

T

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Finding My Joy

I'm circling back to that word I mentioned in my last post... Joy. This kid... he's my joy. And in this season of intense emotional turbulence, I find complete peace in Liam's laugh, in his goofy little antics, his sense of humor... and those dimples! My last post was as vulnerable as I've ever been on my blog. I wrestled with sharing so publicly, a decision so personal. Ultimately, I chose to walk in obedience to the Lord and share outside of my comfort zone.





Y'all, the enemy wanted me (and still wants me) to hide. To keep private the pain. Keeping hidden pain that intense - it intensifies - it soon introduces me to shame and embarrassment and sometimes even guilt.... any which of these could lead to isolation. That's the enemy's playground. It's hard to be thankful for the times I'm in. Thanking the Lord for where he has me in these hurts... I struggle with doing that. But after my post last weekend, I understood a little better. 
My last post went live around 10pm last Friday night. From about 5 minutes after I hit the "publish" button and for several days following, I had an outpouring of not only love and support, but of similar stories. I received Facebook messages, phone calls and texts of people sharing with me their hurts and heartbreaks - thanking me for my vulnerability that gave them that little extra something to then share with me.




Y'all - the enemy wants us to hide from each other and isolate when we hurt. Jesus wants us to hold each other up. Every message I read, every text I opened up, every call I took, I thanked the Lord for my circumstances because it was bringing together the hurting, it was building relationships, it was reminding me that this isn't only a time a mourning, but a time of growth and rebuilding. Being vulnerable is scary. It also has incredible reward sometimes. While I'm hurting for those of you who identify with me... who are walking a similar path, or who have walked this path before me... I'm joyful in the fact that we don't have to journey one step of it feeling alone. I don't have to isolate and try to sort through my mess in the dark on my own. I can bring it all into the light by seeking the Lord and taking a risk with vulnerability. That gives me freedom. That brings me joy.
Joy also comes in the acknowledgment. So many people reached out to say "I'm praying for you," "How can I help?" "I'm standing with you in this." That's the church... that's the design of the Lord. Know Him and know each other... help support each other. Let iron sharpen iron. So thank you, for being the hands and feet of the Lord and for reminding me that love never fails... I have felt loved this past week. I have felt seen. I have felt heard. If you could have asked me last week to predict how I'd feel today, it would not have been "loved, seen and heard." But God knows what I need and He provided. 
And this kid. He brings me joy. Merry Christmas, guys. Thanks for doing the hard things alongside this little family.

Living Loved,
T