I Don’t Even Know Where to Begin?

Where to begin?  
I am not even sure where to begin.  Yesterday I got a note from a friend, Kristy, asking me to call her, she had some news that she didn’t want me to read on the internet.  She assured me her family was okay.  So with trepidation I called.  The way my mind works, I could only imagine the worst ~ someone we knew mutually had died…well I was some what right.
A friend of mine had been involved in a horrible tragedy.  You can read about it here.  How sad to learn that a sweet lady I have known over 13 years had admitted to shooting her hubby and baby and then tried to commit suicide.  I just sat quietly on the phone.  Neither Kristy or I saying anything. 
Oh, how E must have been hurting.  Oh, how my heart hurts for her now.
 After a few minutes we hung up.
I went to find the article, still not believing what I had heard.  I contacted my friend, Dee.  I was just feeling the need to be on the phone with someone, especially since we are in Missouri and all our mutual friends are in Washington state.
And I sat and zoned out, trying to get my mind around it.  I must have sat in the chair, reading what I could find out about the whole thing.  Seeing her name in print and reading the details made my heart hurt.  Feeling horrible for E, thinking of how desperate and hopeless she must have been feeling.
And then I thought “but by the Grace of God go I.”
Some of you reading this blog, know my story yet many of you don’t.  
Remember a couple of weeks ago I went to the Story Rope retreat and wrote about telling my own story and how I felt that the Lord is leading me to share it over and over again.
And now today I am sharing another part of that story.
But by the Grace of God…I could have been E.
Yep, that’s right.
Many years ago, when our son’s were little I struggled with the issue of child abuse.
My own abuse as a child and as a teenager began to reel it’s ugly head in my own life,  I was the abusive parent.  Am I proud of that ~ Absolutely not!!  Am I thankful that I was able to get the help I needed to change my parenting styles ~ You bet!!!
And yet as I have sat here the last two days I could E in this story.
One afternoon, I became so overwhelmed with everything in my life, trying to take care of my family on a very limited budget, multiple life problems ~ a car that didn’t run, children who weren’t the perfect children I expected them to be ~   I know, I know children are not perfect, heck we as adults are not perfect but in my warped mind, if my children weren’t perfect I was the lousiest mother there could be.  I was dealing with PTSD due to abuse in my own childhood that was rearing its ugly head and I didn’t know what to do.  I felt so alone, so helpless, so hopeless, believing my children had the worst mama in the world, hubby had the worst wife in the world and life would be better for everyone if I was not here in this world.  Yet I couldn’t imagine anyone else raising my children.
And in a moment of extreme
I lost it!  I mean I really lost it!!
I drove like a mad woman, yelling and screaming at my innocent children in the backseat of our car that I was going to kill them when we got home!!!  Over and over I yelled that.  It was not something said in jest…I was at a point I could not take it any more…life was more pain than I could stand.
But by the Grace of God, 
when we got home, our children went into their bedroom. 
All was quiet!
But in my mind I knew something had to change…my children could not live with a crazy mom!!! Heck I couldn’t live with the crazy woman I was in that moment.
But by the Grace of God, I could have been E.
I called a friend, actually hung up on her three times,
before finally letting the phone ring long enough for her to answer.
I told her what I had said.
She said, stay in the kitchen, leave the kids playing in their bedroom and I will be right over.  She lived about 30 minutes from our home, but she was there in less than 10 minutes…God had her flying on his wings to get to our home.  Just after Karalee arrived, another friend arrived and went into the bedroom and asked the kids if they wanted to go to a sleepover – they jumped at it!!  They gathered some clothes, hugged me tight and in their little voices told me they loved me.  I told them to have fun at the sleepover and then I watched them walk out the door.  Not having a clue about what was gonig to happen next.  I just knew that something needed to change, I could not and did not want to be the awful mom I felt I was at that moment.
And for the next twenty years I battled depression.  
It reared its ugly head in many ways
~ anger at the world, any and everyone
~ suicidal thoughts
~ destructive behavior 
~ embarrassing family and friends
~ tears and more tears
~ hospitalizations that others didn’t understand
Yet by the Grace of God
I never pulled the trigger.
And so I sit here, thinking of E ~ wishing I could have reached out to her, 
in some way, some form to let her know even the darkest of days can have a 
little light at the end.  
Yet I know it is hard to share ~
Sometimes the prettiest smiles hide the deepest secrets. The prettiest eyes have cried the most tears and the kindest hearts have felt the most pain.
to let E know she was not and is not alone!
More than ever, E needs her friends and family to love her.
We may not know exactly what she is going through,
but it is not our place to judge,
it is our place to love her!
It is not easy to discuss Mental Illness.
It is not easy to ask for help for something you don’t understand.
And answering the stupid questions when you do try to share is so hard ~
Example 1:  After being in the hospital for two weeks, I had a friend (I say that loosely) ask me what was it like being in there with all the crazies?  Umm…I guess I must be really crazy.
Example 2:  Stop being so emotional.  You have a great life, a great husband, wonderful children..what do you have to complain about?  Umm…yes I do have a wonderful husband and great children ~ don’t you realize it is not them, I have something wrong with me.
And after many years of dealing with mental health issues I finally came to the conclusion that because people can’t see the hurt, the pain, there are no broken bones, I can talk and smile along with the best of them, I can work out in the public and function “correctly” most of the time, that because no one can put a pretty
on it, it is kept a big 
Who wants their friends or family to think they are
YES I have been called all of these.
So question arises ~ What do we need to do?
We need to be able to 
that when we risk to share our deepest and darkest secrets, fears, inadequacies, pain
that others will not 
come beside me,
listen to me,
cry with me,
but please don’t judge me;
please don’t judge E either
In closing, I want to encourage anyone who reads this, family, friends, people I may or may not know, IF you are feeling alone and hopeless, I ask, please reach out to me.  I may not know the answers but I don’t want anyone to go through their pain alone.  And know together we will move forward on the path of life, we may not know how but we won’t have to go it alone.

God’s Agenda Not Mine ~ updated 6:30 PM

Life has been crazy for me:  emotionally and physically and spiritually my walk with the Lord has not been where I wanted it to be.    I have whined, pouted, hibernated, cried ~ you name it I have been doing IT to avoid finding TRUTH for me.  A few weeks ago I was invited to a ladies retreat hosted by True Stories Ministries.  I had heard about Story Rope Retreats by a friend in WA state and I thought this might be interesting.  So I sent off an email, got the details, made arrangements for sharing a hotel room with a gal I connected with via my friend in WA.  

And then two weeks before the retreat we were hit with some difficult times and information and so last week Monday I wrote an email to the gal who I was supposed to ride with and said it didn’t look like I was going to be able to go.  She suggested contacting Holly or Cathy (the facilitators of the retreat).  So I did.  Holly and I wrote back a couple of times and then I got a phone call from Cathy saying “come, it is all going to work out”   and I was feeling like I really needed some down time.  Ladies retreats are fun, get to meet new friends, eat lots of good food and by getting away I might get a new perspective or a new idea on how to deal with the situations we were facing.

But by Friday morning, the devil himself was telling me I shouldn’t go and I tried to think of some really good reason why I should stay home…but God would not allow that…so off to Branson to meet up with Jo, who had driven from Wisconsin to pick me up to go to Eureka Springs!!  If you know me, I have a hard time doing something or not doing something if it is going to disappoint someone.  I can’t do that…so off to Branson!!! and then to Eureka Springs.

It was a relaxing drive, we made a couple of Uturns but in the end we found the motel.  Country Inn of Eurkea Springs.  It was nice and clean, the beds were super comfortable.  And it was right across the street from a cute little restaurant and pub.  The manager/owner was wonderful and ready to help out in any way possible.  I wouldn’t mind going back there for a few days with Ron.  

First off, here  is the description of a story rope retreat: What is your story? Everyone has one!  Have you wondered what purpose or value there is in your story? STORYROPE™ brings to life TRUE perspective of who you are and why you are here. As you see the presence and purposes of God in your story, you will find that you are part of His BIG story, 
and your story is of great value.
Of course​, I went with  my agenda – how can this help GUMI Camp, be utilized here?  

​But GOD had other plans…this is what I wrote during our 2nd Quiet time (we had 5)  “As I am sitting here lookingat lies, truth, grace and looking at my story rope I am wantng to take it all apart and redo it ~ make it right ~ it feels like I have done it all wrong.  It is a jumbled mess which how I see my life ~ I work hard to make things right and to do it well.  I just see mess after mess and no matter how hard I try I just screw up, getting it all wrong.  

I want to tell JoAnn just take me back to teh hotel and just hibernate and be alone so I can figure it all out on my own ~ I just want to be home with Ron where even in the chaos & mess I feel safe with him.  I just want to SCREAM ~ it is so much easier to just leave the stuff behind and buried and go on and live today just dealing with stuff in the moment, each day as it comes.”

I was feeling so angry…​I have dealt with things from my past over and over, God has healed me from so many things.  Why do I need/keep going back again and again.   And I have shared my story so many times!!!!  But I was there so I continued on.  I didn’t hibernate though during the 2.5 hour free time I did take a nap and slept for about an hour.

​After that session it turned to HOPE​ and I felt the Lord tugging at me and working in my heart.  One of the things that was shared was that we are like a computer.  We have the M drive (MIND) and H drive (HEART) and we have a Firewall between the two  and sometimes we get a V (VIRUS) ~ wronged, hurt, bruised, etc.  and that we have to get rid of the viruses (satan’s lies!!!)   and the biggest lie in my life is “I am not good enough!!!”  and God reminded me through scripture Exodus 3:1-2  To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose, a time to be born (I am not a mistake) another lie and Colossians 2:10 … and you (ME) am complete in Him!  If I am complete in Him I must be ENOUGH because more can’t be added to me if I am enough!!!

​And I don’t believe the Lord wants me to hash everything out over and over again BUT He does want me to tell my story, to be an encourager to others, to let others know that though we may face some difficult times in our lives, God is with us all the time, He does have a purpose for me and every time I share my story, or even a part of it HE shows me how He has been with me all the time, how far I have come in my walk with Him and how healthy I have become: emotionally and spiritually and with His help I can get healthy physically too!!!  

It was a good time, I cried and laughed and cried and laughed some more.   So many women came up and told me how much they appreciated my gift of humor…gift of humor?? never thought of that…I was just sharing different times in my life when I have done things or been involved in things and looking back they are pretty funny! One of the stories I shared was what I call one of my not so proud momma moments.  When our boys were 4 & 2 I was not having a great day ~ in fact they were really stressng me out and I was getting more frustrated by the minute.  And finally in exasperation I sent them to their room.  Brandon, 2, was put on his bed (top bunk) and Jamie, 4, was told to sit on the bottom bunk and don’t move!  I put one of my artificial eyes on their dresser, started out the bedroom and told them “don’t you move!” and then walked out and slammed their bedroom door.  After about 45minutes I was feeling pretty guilty about scaring them like that and so I walked into their bedroom.  Brandon was sound asleep; Jamie on the other hand was sitting in the same exact position he was in when I walked out. I mean, sitting there with his hands in his lap.   Now years later, Jamie likes to tell me I am the reason kids go into counseling and it is the mom’ fault.***  In fact, one gal said I should become a stand up comedian!!!  

And I am so glad I went.
I made new friends,
saw some beautiuful country

Beaver Lake Dam open wide!

And I was reminded how important it is to 

And so today I choose to

What do you choose today??

*** Shared with permission of my son, Jamie.  In fact he wrote back to me when I asked if I could share that story here on my blog “Yeah, go ahead I find it a funny story”


Sometimes I Just Don’t Understand

Graphic Created by Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy 
It is after 1 AM and I can’t seem to shut my brain off, so here I am just going to purge from the inside out.  Sometimes I just don’t understand.  I don’t understand why people have to be passive~aggressive instead of just saying what they are feeling or thinking.
Sometimes I just don’t understand how people can’t be an adult in a situation but has to act like 7th grade girls in middle school or a 4 year old who takes her Barbie’s and goes home because she doesn’t like what was said.
Sometimes I just don’t understand life in general.
Sometimes I just don’t understand.
Sometimes I just don’t understand what makes people tick.  Sometimes I just don’t understand why adults can’t be adults.  And sometimes I don’t understand how one day you say you are my friend, you will always be there and then you disappear.  What happened to being adults and talking about things?  Sometimes I just don’t understand.
I just need to say 
Right now I just want to yell
“I can’t be the nice person anymore.  I can’t be the strong one anymore.  I can’t just let others use me and then toss me at their convenience.  Sometimes I just don’t understand.
And to those who are wondering “what the heck is going on?”
I am okay.  
I am tired.
I am concerned about stuff in my life.
Sometimes I just don’t understand.
And I know some of you reading this are probably thinking
“oh no, there she goes down that slippery slope!”
No, I am not going down any slippery slopes
I just need to voice 
Sometimes I just don’t understand.
And for tonight
not understanding things
is just the way it is.
And through it all
I know this to be true!!!

Rambling and Hobbling

Can’t believe it is Friday, 
last time I checked it was Tuesday
but alas some things have been happening
This is what I did on Tuesday
Walked back into the rig after visiting with a friend
and found the corner of the bence by the stairs.   
My friend Norma asked me if I gave praises when this happened?
My reply “Umm, No it was more like dancing/jumping in the spirit” 🙂
This was two days later…spoke to the doctor and he said wrap the two toes together
 and stay off of it as much as possible till Monday morning. 
And this new bruise showed up this morning.
It is warm to the touch and very hard in the center.
Not sure if I hit this part of my leg when I 
hit the toes.  Now watching it as well.
So I have been pretty horizontal since Tuesday.
I did get up this morning and straightened up the bedroom
and the bathroom and then hobbled to the couch.
I have been working on paperwork,
financials and correspondence for GUMI Camp USA.
And enjoying these great pictures:
Brandon and the boys riding in the gondola over Niagara Falls.
Love the boys, would like to see the inside of that house 🙂
Treyson and Daddy 🙂
And as they say Like Grandpa, Like Grandson
Definitely takes after his Grandpa Ron 🙂
Swimming with Daddy in Michigan

Christopher, our little fish 🙂

Alex with his new favorite car; 
Grandpa wants to know if they can go for a ride together.

Building Lego’s with Boys
and as Brandon and Jamie like to say
“they are never too old to play with lego’s.”

And that brings us to Friday!
More to come, just don’t know when 🙂