Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hello, Goodbye

I'm not ready to write this post. I'm never good at goodbyes. I don't know where to begin, because I feel like I have too much to say and so much to write. I know God has led me back home...I've always called it my "home". Illinois. Where my parents and brother are, where I hope someday my sister will be. It's where I grew up. I never considered Michigan my home, and I never truly considered Indiana my home either.  Excited isn't the word - "ready" is more like it. I'm ready to be back in Illinois.

Yet, when one moves, there are always goodbyes. That's just it...a GOOD bye. Happy. Positive. Good.

I'm not sad about leaving Indiana. Yeah, I'm actually more devastated that I am not teaching; starting a new school year. That is the worst thing for me right now. For the past seven years, the night before a new school year begins I pick out my "first day" outfit and have trouble sleeping.  Tonight, however, I can stay up late, watch Netflix, and pack. I hate tonight.

I know God lead me to be a teacher. I know He knows my heart is in the classroom, with the students.

Today and tonight, I met up with some of the coolest, sweetest, young adults I know. My former students who have made such an impact on my life - and I hope I made a strong impact on theirs as well. I could go on and on about them, and how much I depend on my students throughout the year for laughter and insight and reality checks, how much they each teach me, how much they impact my life...but actually I could probably write a novel about it.

Maybe someday I will.

My brain is racing. My thoughts scattered.

I don't have a job. I won't be teaching. I'm saying goodbye to some great co-workers, college friends, and new friends. I love this town - city feel and country feel. I hate packing and moving. I haven't slept well in two weeks because I'm so stressed out. Our new place is ghetto and I hate it. So much to do...get a new license, register my care. I won't have insurance. Find a new vet.....Ugh!

There. Done. I let it all out. Vent.

Move on. Get over it.

So, I'm looking towards the positive. The future.  Lord, you know my faults. You know when it comes to my own life I don't always see the good so please help me with this. Just one of my many prayers to you tonight. I know I'm doing the right thing, just help me to see the light.

After all my boxes are packed...
...my keys turned in
...one final drive down my favorite road
...my car gassed up and ready to go
...my last HSE shirt given away
...my voice lost at the last concert
...my last sweet tea from McAllisters
...my last cuss word at the lousy drivers in the round-abouts
...my last interaction with the rent-a-cops at my apartment complex
...my goodbyes said
...my tears gathered in a pile on tissues...

...As I pass Purdue at Exit 178 and the windmill farm on I-65 Northbound...heading into Illinois on 80/94, and then on 355 N to my new apartment, remember...
...I can now have those Sunday night dinners I've always wanted to have with my parents
...I can now take my "little" brother to a bar and have a beer with him - whenever we want
...I can get to know AJ's family even better and become closer with them
...I will be living with the love of my life
...we won't be driving every weekend to see each other (yay saving money on gas!)
...AJ and I can find a church. together. and go together. 
...new adventures await us
...I can now reconnect with my childhood friends from elementary school
...Phoenix can play with Cooper and Walley all the time
...I know AJ will help me anything and everything
...I don't have to cook for one and eat alone anymore
...movies during the week
...grocery shopping with AJ
...I'll be present for the Kaye family game nights and book club nights
...Chicago always has so much to do - plays, concerts, musicals, museums, the lake, etc. 
...dinner with my former high school English teacher once things calm down
...and perhaps a new job? career? something else God will lead me towards.
...not doing it all alone anymore; AJ and I will be "doing" life together
...Phoenix will have a daddy
...family family family family

God will make it happen. I know He will. 

Finishing this post, I realized it's just what I needed. 

I am ready. 

Ready to go home.

Dear God, it's me...tonight I ask that you help me to continue to see the good, the possibilities, and all the love I have in my future. Whatever happens in the next month or so, I know I am loved by You, AJ, and my family. Help me to recognize that, especially when I get stressed out. Please watch over me with my finances as I continue to try to find a job. Please lead me down the right path to a teaching job or another career field in which you know I will do good and enjoy. I trust that You have a plan for me and while I cannot see it clearly at the moment, it will all make sense someday. Thank you for guiding me to this point. Even though it's hard to say goodbye, the future is a bit unknown, and the uncertainty of "what ifs" is scary, I am confident that You will make it all OK. It's all gonna be ok. Most of all, it will be fine because of love. For once in my life, I get it. LOVE is the most important. With love, all things are truly possible. Thank you for helping me to see that, even in this time of slight fear. In YOUR name, Amen.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wisdom and Learning

"To gain understanding that wisdom may be vouchsafed to me..."

As I said in my last post, I wanted to learn something new each day or so and share it with others. So...I didn't really do what I had planned, but I did come away with a bit more. Sure, I learned a few things but they were not simple, basic, cheesy, things. It wasn't like I learned a new word each day, or looked up a random piece of information (Ok, but I did learn that apparently baby dolphins are born with mustaches...ha ha). Here is what I did take away from the last two weeks...Some of these are "duh" lessons, and some are ones that really hit home. All of them though, are lessons that I feel every Christian should be aware of. And that is truly what I wanted to do...take lessons that I have learned and share them with others. So here you go:

  1. Besides Him, family is truly the most important thing in the world. Never underestimate your parents' advice. No matter how annoying a sibling may get, be thankful that you have someone in your life in which you can share your childhood memories...and talk to about your parents when they get on your nerves! :) 
  2. To each their own. I know...so cliche right? I often find myself judging how others raise their children. I am not a parent. Who am I to say what's right and what's wrong? Even if I did have my own children, everyone has their own family dynamics. Everyone has been raised in different ways. What I think is right or wrong may not be the same to someone else. This leads me to #3...
  3. Do not judge others. Only God can judge, and even then, I doubt He really does. I've realized that we all judge. I've realized that I need to stop comparing myself to others and their lives. One way I stopped myself from doing this is that I took myself out of the equation. I am no longer "friends with" or "followers of" people I tended to compare myself with or judge or want to be like. I tell you what - my life is already better. I no longer feel the need to look them up or see their posts and pictures and compare my life to theirs or judge them. Unfortunately, I took the easy way out - I should maybe have taught myself self-control, but hey, I have to start somewhere. 
  4. You cannot please everyone. Example: camping with 14 people - including 5 young children - is hard. Everyone wants to do different things. Example: young boys and girls like to do different things. Girls may like to be more crafty. Boys may want to play more sports. The answer: take turns and compromise. 
  5. Patience is truly a virtue. (N. a behavior showing high moral standards, or a quality considered morally good or desirable in a person. Thank you Google Search.). I don't have patience. I realize I need to work on it. I need patience. Lord, I pray each night for patience and I will continue to do so. I don't have patience with my students, with my dog, with my boyfriend, with my brother, with myself, with my job search, with beginning my new life in IL...the list goes on and on...
  6. Dog spelled backwards is God. I know, this is a cheesy one. But if you are a dog lover, then you know just how true this is! I could do (and I will now that I'm saying it...) an entire post on what every Christian should learn from a dog....love it!!!!
To relate this all back to the first line of the Alpha Gamma Delta Purpose, "To gain understanding that wisdom may be vouchsafed to me..." - I've realized something. God gave humans the ability to learn, teach others, comprehend, spread messages, write, communicate with others, etc. He gave us the gift of KNOWLEDGE. Why? So that we could learn and understand His teachings through the Gospel and Bible. Why do you think the saying, "Knowledge is Power" is so common? Think about it. Knowledge IS power. The Apostles had the knowledge of Christ, and wanted to spread it. They had "power" the governments did not like. Why do so many wars begin? Why do so many authors write about books being banned, or societies being limited to what they can learn? The more knowledge a person has, the more powerful they become. Why did men used to not want women to go to school or vote or read? Because women would have too much knowledge and begin to think for themselves - which would lead to them having a mind of their own and therefore gain power.... 

The list could go on and on....but how am I connecting these two??? A line from a sorority purpose to living a Christian life and being a good Christian....????

Being a Christian is walking a life of faith. Being a Christian is living a Christian life. Being a Christian is doing Christian acts. Being a Christian is spreading His word. Being a Christian is gaining knowledge and learning about Christ. It is taking that knowledge and learning from it - how to live and act like Christ and having the strength and power to deliver that message to others. 

My prayer: Dear God, I want to THANK YOU for giving us the ability to possess knowledge. To gain wisdom. It truly is a gift and one that we should always be seeking. You want Your people to learn. Not just Your teachings through Your word, but look at all You have put on this earth for us to learn!! Education is so valuable. You have given it to us - why do we take so much of it for granted??? I will always have a love for learning and I will do my best to learn more about Your teachings and ways to be a better Christian.

At the same time, thank you to the founders of Alpha Gamma Delta who wrote this Purpose and made this the first line...I'm so honored to know that those ladies also recognized how valuable education, learning, knowledge, and wisdom are to living a healthy life. Whether or not they had a Christian life in mind while coming up with the Purpose, I think they did a pretty good job of relating the two! :) 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Living a life with purpose...

This past weekend I had the best time reconnecting with some of my sorority sisters in our old chapter house. Wow, did that bring back sooooo many awesome memories, I sure miss those days. With that in mind, I decided that I really wanted to bring Alpha Gamma Delta back into my life...all of what it stands for, why I joined, and what it means to truly be an Alpha Gam. What better way to do that than to live out the Purpose? I love the Alpha Gamma Delta saying "Live a life of a Puropse" and therefore I decided to actually try it out. You may wonder why I am posting this on my "Dear God" blog and the answer is simple - I realized that much of living out this purpose - is very much like living a Christian life! I decided that I would try to focus on a new line each few weeks or so. Starting with the first line of the Purpose, "To gain understanding that wisdom may be vouchsafed to me..." In other words, to acquire intelligence of what is right / acknowledge that wisdom is a gift and therefore should be respected and appreciated. Being smart is a good thing - luckily I am a teacher and love learning and value education - so this is an easy one for me!  In order to live out this line of the Purpose, I plan on learning on something new every day and sharing what I have learned with others. This could simply be a little tidbit or random fact, a new word, or maybe something more in depth like a new teaching strategy...but what better way to incorporate this with my "Dear God" blog but with learning something new from the Bible??? So, that's my plan...Stay tuned...a few things here and there as to what I have learned and taken with me...Thanks Alpha Gamma Delta and thanks to The Lord for supplying me with the idea and for being able to learn and gain so much more!!!! :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Kindness. Honesty. Truth.

I received this message last night through Facebook:

(KMG) - no real names needed - I'm "protecting the privacy of people"! :)

"So, as part of Lent I am trying to be honest with people in a public way about things I really think are amazing or special about them. I don't want to write this on your wall because I am not sure of your comfort level, but I want to let you know how brave I think you are. I don't know what happened in your marriage, but I do know you are happy now and that is so very, very important in this life. We only have ONE life and it is far too important to spend it unhappy. So many women stay unhappy and married to the wrong person for a lifetime.I just wanted to say I am proud of you, I really admire your bravery, and I think it is so so great that you are in love and happy." 

And I cried. I couldn't reply right away because I was so taken aback (in a good way), I didn't know what words would come out of my mouth. I needed to process. 

As I sit here at a coffee shop / pub and listen to some live music on a Saturday night grading papers - I've had one beer and feel inspired to write. What have my Saturday nights become? 

It's hard to put into words - either spoken or written - what I feel right now. I'm holding back some serious tears as I sit here in public. This message - from someone whom I share so much with (college sorority values, memories, friends, and spirit) and yet are like strangers (haven't really seen nor talked to in years, were never that super close) touched me in a way that I haven't felt in...well....a really long time. 

This is the first, real, time that I am writing/talking publicly about the divorce...

I never made the divorce with my ex a real public thing. I was so embarrassed. No one in the world plans on getting a divorce. No one in the world dreams of one day getting married and then divorcing. As a child, you never say, "One day I'm gonna get a divorce!" I never talked to my best friends about it. I never confided in my parents about it. I did the entire divorce on my own - meaning not really telling anyone about it. I never posted about being unhappy on Facebook. I never posted a message that would really hint to people how unhappy I was. I mean, everyone else in the world seems so happy, right? Everyone posts the good stuff - no one posts the negative. 

But everyone knew. 

I felt like such a loser - and sometimes still do.

There I was: 30. Divorced. Moving from a house back to an apartment. Starting all over again. Living and working in a city I only moved to to start a life with "my husband". 

Again - embarrassing. 

At least that's what I thought anyway. 

I didn't really know what others thought. I didn't talk to anyone about it. Not my parents. Not my friends. I didn't really have my neighbors anymore to talk to - I gave up most of them when I moved out. (Two of them, though, are still great friends of mine, and I'm so thankful for them!)

At one time I got really upset with my friends. No one ever called and asked me how I was doing. No one ever asked me to go out for a "girl's night" and forget about it all. No one ever asked what my new apartment was like. No one ever emailed me asking about it. 

And then I realized. 

I never really opened up to anyone about it. Again, I was so embarrassed. I didn't have faith or trust in my friends that they would respect my decision. I mean they are all so happy in their marriages, right?  I figured they would judge me. 

And let's be honest - they did judge me. They still do. Whether it's a good friend, or just an acquaintance, we all judge. I get that. 

No one really knew what I was going through  - because I never told anyone. 

My fault. I realize that now. 

How could I expect something from someone who doesn't even know what's going on? I realized: me being upset, was me being selfish. I wanted pity. I wanted someone to feel sorry for me. 

I understand my friends - they all knew what was going on, but I was the first person to get divorced of our "group" of friends - none of my friends have had to see a friend go through that. None of my friends knew how to bring it up. They all "knew" but didn't know. I couldn't be upset or mad at them for not asking me about it - when I was the one who didn't share anything about it. They felt awkward bringing it up like they would upset me. I totally get that! I'd be the same way if I was them!

I can tell you this, though: if you ever know someone who is going through a divorce - DO PRY. Do ask them if they are ok. It's tough. I look back at it all and I'm so proud of myself. I handled it the best way I knew how. Sure, I wish I would have done a lot of things differently - like confided in my friends more. I regret that so much. I should have let in some of my best friends - but I didn't, and now I know better. I've talked to them since, and I know now I can truly confide in them. I've learned that yes, we all judge each other, but at least I know that in the end, they will still be my friends. 

So......how does this have to do anything with the Facebook message? With Christ? I mean, after all, my blog is "Dear God..." Well...a lot...

I've been dealing a lot, inside, with the guilt of divorce hanging over my head. I am a Christian. God does not like divorce. But I'm torn. God wants us to be happy, right? But he does not like divorce. So I got a divorce. And I'm happy. Does He forgive me? I know He sees my happiness, but is He upset with my decision? 

Can you see how I am torn? 

Now - to that FB message...

To be called BRAVE. 

To have someone consider my COMFORT LEVEL. 

To know that someone out there can see MY HAPPINESS. 

To know that someone out there can see how IN LOVE I am.

To know that someone else realizes that this life is short and we only have one and that we DESRVE to be HAPPY.

To be PROUD of me for my decision. 

To ADMIRE me for my decision. 

That means everything to me.

No one has said that to me before - expect for one person (the man I am with now - but he's kind of biased, ha! ;-) ). 

So to hear it from someone whom I am not super close with - makes it that more heartfelt and touching. 


I know I did the right thing. I am more in love today than I knew was possible. Sometimes I don't think it's real - it's that amazing.  This is what love should be. 

I hate that my happiness was at the expense of someone else. That kills me. I pray for my ex all the time. I hope he finds true love and true happiness like I have found. It hurts me to know that he did not want this - but in the long run - I think he will see our marriage was rushed and wrong. 

Being in a loveless, unhappy marriage is probably one of the worst ways to live a life. My heart goes out to anyone who is currently unhappy in their marriage, and I pray that they will find peace and the courage to either work it out, or step away from it. 

I thank KMG for being honest. For opening up. For recognizing my unexpected plan in life. For taking the few minutes out of her busy day to write me a message and to make a huge impact on someone else's life - mine. To have the guts to say something to me about it. 

I feel and am thinking so much more than I can write at the moment, but I just cannot put it into words. So I'll end it here.

Dear God - 
Please look over and bless KMG, her family, and friends. Please reach out to her so that she knows that her short note meant a lot to me. She is truly spreading Your word through simple messages. Please give her strength to continue her plan with Lent so that she impacts others as she has me. 

Dear God - 
I pray to You, now, that I find peace in knowing that You do forgive me and You are happy for my happiness. I pray that I gain an understanding that it's ok to be happy. Please help me to know that it's ok to feel this loved. It's ok to admit my mistakes and move on. I pray that you bless the relationship that I am currently in and continue to show others that love is good.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year - Same old me

I wish I could have titled this, "New Year, New Me", but in reality I'm still just the same person.

I wish I was more confident in who I am at this moment, and I'm only down on myself because looking back at this past year, I wish I would have done more -

  • done more with my life in terms of my relationships with loved ones and friends
  • more with my life in terms of professionally and my career
  • more in my life in terms of what I want to accomplish like writing a book and blogging more and selling crafts
  • and of course more in my life in terms of my relationship with Christ
I have a "to blog about" list sitting right here next to me, and my hope is to get to that sometime this week....we will see....

Why am I not taking more time right now to blog???? Well, that's simple - I start work again tomorrow after having 18 days off - and I need all the sleep I can get at the moment before my life begins to revolve around 180 7th graders.   :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Words that speak to me

I could not have said it better myself! Thanks to Holley Gerth's blog, I know I'm not alone. 

She posted today:

"The reason why I write the way I do is because I need to hear it too.

Because sometimes I forget I’m loved.

Some nights it’s hard to wait for dawn.

Some moments I struggle to be strong.

I write what I need to remember. Words are the trail markers I leave on the journey of life so I can say, “Oh, yes, I’ve passed this way before. Now I know how to move past this place again.”

I’ve struggled with depression.

I was once diagnosed with social anxiety.

I’ve walked the valleys.

It’s not where I live now. But I’ve been there. And sometimes I go back.

Don’t we all?

I forget to tell you that sometimes–to say that if you ever get the idea I have it all together that you shouldn’t believe it. That I sweat and cry the ugly cry and have dust bunnies and bad hair days and I whine and I sometimes completely forget that I’m already amazing.

I write to find my way home.

I write to reconnect with Love.

I write to know I’m not alone. And because of you, I’m not.

Thanks for sharing the journey with me. In case you didn’t know, I appreciate you even more than words can convey. I’m glad we’re in this together.

Just as we are.

And not yet all we will be.

Our best is still ahead."

Goodness! It sounds just like what I wrote yesterday...in some ways. God is funny...the way He works is always surprising me and making me shake my head in awe....and then I smile, laugh, and say to myself, "I should have known He'd answer me!"


God is GOOD.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Isaiah 41:10

This is probably my favorite and most inspirational Bible verse: 

"Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." 

If you know me well, you know that I tend to suffer from depression. It sucks. I'd like to say that it's something I can control; something that I can just stop from happening. But if you have ever been diagnosed with depression, you know that's not how it works. Things just happen - you get depressed about it - you say things you shouldn't - you feel things you don't want to feel - you think things you don't want to admit. 

I take medicine for it - I call them my "crazy drugs". I've been to see doctors - I call them my "crazy doctors". I'm ashamed of my depression and I am embarrassed about it. Why? I ask myself. Why me? Why God, am I like this?!?! 

Sometimes it overcomes me. It truly does take over. And for no reason at all. For once in my life, I'd like to say that I am happy. I have someone who loves me more than anything; and I can honestly say the same about him. I have a great job. My family is healthy, my friends are doing well, Autumn is here - my favorite season. Realistically, my life is GREAT.  

Yet, last night, I took out all my anger, frustrations, and annoyance on the one person who loves me the most. I cried myself to sleep. I said things like, "I hate my life", "Why can't I know how to be happy?", "I need to go to church and pray for hope and patience that my life with turn around". I know I hurt the person who loves me most by saying these things because in reality - he has made my life better. Oh, and I didn't even go to church this morning. Strike. 

How come, out of nowhere, I just get sad? How is God working in my life? My mind? My heart and spirit? Is He working at all? If so, why then, do I get like this??! Where's the Holy Spirit when I need it most? I realize He is there all the time - I'm just not "seeing" Him or hearing Him.

The sad thing is - I don't even know why I was crying last night. I don't even know what I was sad about. What I was depressed about. What is so bad with my life? Nothing. My life is really fantastic! 

I hate depression. Why does it exist? Why can't I just BE HAPPY? Why isn't it easy for me to smile, let go of worry, and just BE?  Be in love. Be in the moment. Be thankful. Why can't I just feel those things - always? I've realized that I can - but I may just need to work on it.

That's when this verse, (as always, God works in mysterious ways), came into my thoughts. I am falling backwards. Into a pit that I've been in before, and I don't want to go back there. And I don't have to go back there - if I have any say in the matter - I won't go back there. 

I need to TRUST in HIM. I need to ASK HIM for HELP. I need to LISTEN to HIM. 

I cried last night, out loud, "Why God? Why am I like this? Why does this happen to me?" Of course, I didn't get an answer right away - and not an obvious answer of course. Instead I got two answers in unexpected ways: 

1. Texts from my love stating things along the lines of: "You can push me away all you want, but I am not going anywhere. We will work on this together. All I want to do is to try to understand and if you'll let me, help." 

2. This verse from the book of Isaiah.

I always say this: My life is always better when I am going to church, studying His word, blogging on this site,  doing Bible studies, etc. Yet, as always, I seem to not do all those things - I get too wrapped up in "other" stuff. 

I like to think that in a strange way, God is using my depression as a way to get me to turn TO Him, instead of turning away from Him. So, I've decided to really focus, once and for all, on turning TO Him - for strength, guidance, hope. At least, this is what I am telling myself. 

Ironically while Autumn is my favorite time of year and my favorite season, it's also the time in which my depression really kicks in. Originally I was first diagnosed with seasonal depression - so now's the time in which I really begin to feel it. 

I need to let others help me. I need to realize that it's ok to have help - especially from those who want to help and those who love me.  And well, duh - isn't that God? Duh. What's wrong with me? He doesn't want me to feel like this. He doesn't want me crying myself to sleep at night. He doesn't want me to suffer with thoughts of hating my life. 

Ha, it's amazing what blogging / writing your thoughts out can really do for the soul. As I sit here (tears streaming down, in a public coffee shop, feeling embarrassed that everyone is looking at me cry...) and reflect, it all seems so easy. So simple. And maybe it all really is - simple. 

Trust in the Lord - for He will guide me. 
Pray to the Lord - and He will answer me. 

What am I afraid of? It can't hurt to try, right? 

"Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."