Pain, Pain, Go Away

I spent the last day of winter break at the Urgent Care. Four hours of waiting for the Doctor to give me some Ibuprofen.

Twenty years ago (still amazes me that I can actually say– twenty years ago– only to emphasize that I am getting older), but twenty years ago I had a pneumothorax, that is a fancy medical term for a collapsed lung. I remember it like it was, hmmm, twenty years ago… a sudden feeling on my left chest that something big sunk down. In other words, it felt like when you swallow something big, with out chewing it, and you can feel it go down your throat. Well, it was something like that. It didn’t hurt. The pain came after.

As each hour passed it became harder to breathe. Every breath I took there was a sharp pain. Of course I didn’t rush to the hospital at this time because it didn’t occur to me that my lung collapsed. I mean, all I was doing was fixing my hair when I felt something weird and then slowly, and very slowly did I finally realize that something was seriously wrong.

THREE DAYS! That’s how long it took me to get into the ER, and even then it took an ENTIRE day to finally get a chest tube in there to inflate my lung. I was living in Las Vegas, New Mexico at the time, and my daughter had just turned one year old.

To make a long story short, I was first diagnosed with walking pneumonia and was given a decongestion and codeine for the pain. I requested a chest x-ray and was told that they were booked and to come in the next day. I refused, walked into an empty waiting room and had my chest x-rayed.

Turns out my left lung had collapsed and it was soooo painful, every little move I made was torture. I stayed in the hospital for five days to get that lung inflated and back to normal.

Five days with a chest tube in your body gives you a lot of time to think. I kept thinking how lucky I was that I didn’t go into cardiac arrest. I also thought how lucky I was that I lived in an era where technology can help diagnose and treat symptoms like pneumothorax. In a lot of ways, I felt like I was given a second chance to live. So I became a religious zealot for the next five years (that’s another post for another time).

Needless to say, after my run yesterday I started to have some chest pain in the same area as my pneumothorax twenty years ago (it’s actually a fun word to say out loud and it makes you look smart) and when I woke up this morning with the pain still there, I decided I better make sure nothing serious was going on, because if it was another pneumothorax, I wanted to take care of it right away.

Due to walking in to Urgent Care with “chest pain” you get seen right away. Within minutes I was poked, hooked up, and x-rayed. I’m happy to report that I do not in fact have another collapsed lung (wanted to spare you the fancy word usage). Instead I have inflammation on my lung lining. The fancy medical term is pleurisy.

Once we realized I was out of danger, I had to wait four hours to get Ibuprofen and the IV taken out.

OUCH!

All this to say, please don’t take your health for granted. I know what it is like to not breathe, and I will never understand why people smoke and put all kinds of shit in their bodies on a regular basis, that will harm them. Although, let’s be clear, having wine does not harm you if you don’t abuse it, if you know what I mean.

Our bodies are amazing! Unfortunately we live in a society that body image matters more than healthy bodies. In some cases, it is frowned upon if you want to eat healthy and live an active life style. What we do to ourselves to try and fit into this image is terrifying and ludicrous!

We can make fun or snub our noses to the experts about what we need to do to live a healthy life style all we want, but when we are faced with an illness of some sort, we may regret not taking better care of ourselves.

At the same time, there are illnesses that can’t be prevented, and when that is the case, we should be extra diligent with our health.

For now, I have to figure out the cause of the inflammation and seek treatment to reduce/eliminate it. That will probably take longer than a four hour Urgent Care visit.

So friends- take care!

Love Always

2020 Vision

As each year passes more quickly than the last one, I have come to appreciate what it means to grow in maturity. So instead of having unrealistic goals and resolutions to transform myself over night, I have decided to make this year a year of Acceptance.

  • Accept that I am getting older and my life is made up of more than fighting wrinkles, body image and grey hair. My beauty grows from the inside not the outside.
  • Accept that certain relationships will never reconcile. I will remind myself, when I am feeling grieved about it, that often gentle good-byes are the acts of great courage and kindness. It is kinder to let go so you can love them, rather than hold them close and hate them. It is true that you will only be able to love some people from a safe distance.
  • Accept forgiveness for myself and to forgive others. Forgiveness is a reminder that I am not perfect. I will always be a work in progress. When I withhold forgiveness to others who may have offended me, I am acting self-righteously. I have no right to judge, punish, or absolve anyone. When I withhold forgiveness to myself or others I am the who will suffer, since I separate myself from fellow human beings. I do NOT know the motives or circumstances that cause another’s behavior.
  • Accept that I can have an opinion without insisting that others share it.
  • Accept that life is a blessing.
  • Accept that life is only lived one day at a time.
  • Accept that my needs are my responsibility.
  • Accept that I have both shortcomings and strengths.
  • Accept that I need to ask for help when I need it and acting on my own when I don’t.
  • Accepting love from others, even if I’m having a tough time loving myself.
  • Accept that I can care FOR people without having to take care OF them.

I have a primary responsibility to myself and the world: to make myself into the best person I can possibly be. Then and only then, will I have something worthwhile to share.

May 2020 bring you healing, peace, love, abundance, forgiveness, and acceptance.

Love Always

It’s all about The Mashed Potatoes

Six years ago on a cold New Mexico winter, my life changed. All it took was a simple hello, a hand shake, and a conversation that continues everyday, every evening, and every night for the last six years.

I wasn’t sure at first, or let’s just say my track record was not impressive, so I doubted my intuition. I didn’t want to go through another break-up. I didn’t want to get my hopes up only to discover that it wasn’t meant to be.

It was a casual gathering. Just dinner and drinks. Little did I know that my life and the lives of my children would forever be changed. I was a little nervous, a little anxious, and a little guarded.

I was divorced for three years. In that time I had dated a few men. Some good, some not so good, and the truth be told, I gave up on the dating scene. It was just too complicated and too time consuming, and I was exhausted.

When I accepted an invitation to have dinner and drinks with some co-workers there was a hint of a set up with a single guy who just went through a divorce himself. No expectations, but when he made me smile and then laugh…. well.

I entered through the door, we were introduced, I shook his hand and then we began a conversation that we continue to have everyday.

There isn’t much to explain here, we have been happy ever since- well mostly happy. We have had our downs and our struggles. We had to work hard for what we wanted. We continue to work hard- and that’s really what love is all about. It’s all about the Mashed Potatoes- and everything else is gravy.

Happy Meetiversary Cowboy! MUAH!

Enjoy these few haikus he’s written me through out the years.

Love Always

Be Thankful in ALL Circumstances

What makes the Holidays so hard and painful is the reality that your family is not whole. A reminder that distance, whether physical or emotional is keeping loved ones away.

With all the humdrum of Thanksgiving and giving thanks for all that is good in our lives, I wonder if giving thanks for “the not so good” would be just as acceptable.

What if we sat around the table and said, “I’m thankful that our family is not together this Thanksgiving. I’m thankful they are happy and blessed. I wish them all the best in life.” “I’m thankful for the pain and hurt that is in my life. Thankful that the pain will teach me to be kinder and the hurt to help me be more compassionate.” Sounds absurd doesn’t it? Or does it?

Every Holiday in my life has always seemed to be faced with this dilemma.

When families grow, there seems to be a crisis of which household do we attend the festivities? How do we decide without hurting the other household? When families break a part, how do we split the time with the children? When families move far away, how do we deal with the empty seat at the table? When families become estranged, how do we reach out and when will forgiveness finally be given to move on? And of course how do we celebrate if we are mourning a loss?

Life is conundrum when it comes to relationships and this ideal that the Holidays are suppose to be a time of family sitting around the table actually enjoying each other’s company. What we need to remember is this idea is FAKE! I think the reason we hurt more during the Holidays is the lie we tell ourselves that EVERY body and their Grandmother is having a Norman Rockwell, picture perfect Holiday, while our time with our families is dysfunctional to say the least.

If we are hurting, we probably wish we could skip the Holidays or keep them from coming at all, but we know we can’t. We learned that lesson from “The Grinch.” The Holidays have no mercy!

Whatever your situation, try and be thankful anyway. I know…I know…it’s bullshit! We have every right to be angry and resentful. We have every right to feel sorry for ourselves. We have every right to wish and hope that one day the Holidays will manifest our desire to have one big happy family. You’re right of course, but is it worth it? Is it worth holding on to something that we have no control over?

Give it a try- Be thankful in ALL circumstances, even if your feelings don’t match what you are saying. Even if it feels weird and awkward. You will be amazed the difference it will make in your life, your heart and your soul.

Here is mine–I’m thankful for all you- the ones who read my blog and have given me positive feedback. I’m thankful for the friendships I have developed in the last few years, they have been such a blessing in our year of challenges. I am thankful for my family- even the ones who have chosen to leave us out of their life. I’m thankful for my career and the opportunity to work with kids even though it can be one of the most difficult careers on the planet, and my co-workers who care so much. I’m thankful for the job loss Dan had this year- it brought us closer together and taught us the value of what really matters- a welcoming home full of love, laughter, joy, tears, hugs, arguments that gave us perspective, and of course beer and wine. I’m thankful for my children. They are healthy, happy, and pursuing their dreams. I’m thankful for the hard times we went through because it gave us a bond that is unbreakable.

Just writing that one paragraph filled my heart with so much joy- I really think you should try it.

Love Always!

Tight Rope Walking Professional Development in Education

I was able to attend the National Association of Gifted Children Conference these past two days and I am overwhelmed with the amount of information and classes they offered. It couldn’t have happened at a better time. The last couple of years I have felt a little tired and somewhat irritable with my teaching, mostly because I feel rushed, inadequate, and thrown in so many different directions I tend to lose my sense of direction.

Professional Development in the Education world is nothing more than a tight rope with ideology on one end and reality on the other. When we return to our classrooms it our job to walk on that tight rope. Somehow, we are asked, to not only walk without falling, but to juggle machetes with their handles on fire and do backflips so that we can keep our hyper active kids entertained and make sure they pass standardized tests with flying colors!

It amazes me how much research and development goes on about best practices for certain types of children. Yet, we still fall so short of achieving the bar that is set for us, or perhaps, it could be that the research is nothing more than hot smoke on a cold night. Granted, the presenters were excellent, informative, and very convincing, not to mention that they do offer HUGE discounts on their latest book and curriculum at the end of the ride.

As I sit and listen to these experts preach about all that is wrong with education, (God knows we have NO idea what’s wrong- wink-) and then proceed to tell me how to fix it, or at least how to accommodate and differentiate so that I can meet the needs of my students, I kept asking how do I close this gap that is ideal and real.

This is exactly why I became a Teacher. It is also why I fell in love with teaching Gifted Children. The tension between ideal and real is the reality of every great teacher. It is knowing and accepting that the tension will always be there and there will never be, or ever be, a perfect classroom, with a perfect teacher, with a perfect curriculum. I love that everyday is a challenge (okay, some days not so much, but that is why we have wine, right). I love that I can help my students discover more about their strengths and teach them skills they can use everyday- to love reading, to love learning, to love AND appreciate diversity. Mostly, I just want to hand the balance bar to them, (because handing them the machetes on fire is frowned upon) and have them walk the tight rope that is THEIR education. I’ll step off the tight rope and walk along side them- encouraging them, guiding them, teaching them.

I want to stop asking my students to perform and to start learning. I want to stop asking them what they want to be when they grow up and ask what problems they want to solve. The world is so big, so scary, so beautiful, so evil and so good. To really understand the responsibility we have has Educators, that we are preparing these future adults to live in THAT world, is scarier than walking on a tight rope juggling machetes with their handles on fire doing back flips.

I know it has been said so many times, in so many ways, but education should be student centered, not teacher centered, not parent centered, (as much as we are able), I know, I know, this blame game we play… it’s the teacher’s fault… no, it’s the parents fault…, all the while the student sits there sucking their thumb playing Fort Night as we bicker and complain about one another. I wonder what would happen if teachers and parents co-educate the student, and held the student responsible for their own learning, instead of acting like immature divorced couples using the kid as collateral damage? Oh, right, that would be too ideal. Back to the tight rope I go.

With all that said, I do love my job and I am grateful for the research and development that goes into the best practices, and at the end of the day, good things ARE happening in education. I know the pendulum can swing from one end to the other, but with that comes some great models, strategies, and ideas. The very fact that teaching is fluid, elusive, and always changing is what motivates me to keep trying, to keep going, and to enjoy the journey- because it is one crazy ride!

Love Always

Copyright roxyjaecks.com 2019

Monsters, Zombies, Witches, and The Great Pumpkin

Halloween is HERE! That means trick-or-treating, dressing up as something scary, or something pretty, parties and spooky stories and spooky movies.

We seem to be a little obsessed with this Holiday and it’s pretty obvious why–who doesn’t enjoy the gruesome bloody zombies, evil witches, crafty wizards (thank you Harry Potter) ghost stories, ghost movies, and monsters that eat you up, and then of course there is the “Great Pumpkin.”

I am a HUGE Peanuts fan, and when I read a piece of Charles Schulz Biography I was surprised to discover that, “It is often recounted that Charles Schulz was a Christian. This is true but incomplete. After his baptism Schulz was for many years an active and zealous member of the Church of God. But as the years passed Schulz’s faith began to cool as be became increasingly disillusioned with religion.” It surprised me, but then again, those comic strips and movies I adored suddenly made a lot of sense.

I have struggled myself with religion and I although I consider myself a “believer” I watched the “Great Pumpkin” and realized just how much I relate to Linus. No matter how crazy, how many times I have been disappointed, no matter how many times people in my life laugh at me for what I believe, I keep sitting in the pumpkin patch waiting… For what? Could it be happiness? Could it be peace? Could it be belonging? Could it be our perception of a perfect life without any problems? Could it be our true selves? Or God?

Maybe Halloween is such a fascinating Holiday because we can relate in some way to the monster, the zombie, the evil witch or wizard because we know we are not perfect- in some ways we sometimes feel like we are outcasts of society because of our beliefs or our weird taste in clothes or music. Or maybe we are just “different” than the people around us- and so society labels us as “monsters.” The God I believe in, is the God of monsters. A God who not only loves monsters, but became one and rescued us from our ugly-selves.

So I stand with Linus! The “Great Pumpkin” does exist! I’ll keep sitting at the pumpkin patch waiting for it to appear and hand me all the gifts that my heart desires. Not gifts of material possessions that fade away, but gifts of love, peace, harmony and joy. A gift that gives others permission to sit in their own pumpkin patch and know that they are not alone.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Also, don’t listen to me either, I have no idea what I am talking about!

Love Always!

And Life Goes On

It is 10:00 and I should be sleeping.  And while I get to lay my head on my pillow in blissful sleep my husband will be out delivering pizzas so that our family can afford the lifestyle that we have created.  In reality, to pay all the bills and debtors and maybe we can have a little extra for some summer fun camping.  Funny story! I happen to find some cash in an envelope that was able to pay for our week in Red River. That envelope was found in a sewing machine that was purchased for me as a gift. It was bought in an estate sale. I highly recommend you try them out, but I can’t promise you that you too will find money in an envelope.

Funny thing is, every time there was a need there was some way it was provided.  The last few months have been trying, but they have also been miraculous. It’s crazy a thought, but sometimes I think it is better to have trying times, times that don’t make any sense because you truly come out of it a little stronger, a little more faith in God or the Universe, and sometimes in humanity.

When my husband comes home tonight, he will come home to a kitchen sink full of dirty dishes, laundry that has been folded but not put in their rightful place, knocking pipes (because why not), and dusty shelves and dirty floors. He will also come home to beds that are warm with little children who are loved and safe, and on his pillow a note of encouragement, and canned beans on the kitchen counter, which explains the dirty kitchen, to help with the grocery bill. When he puts on his freshly pressed shirt, for his NEW JOB (we are still praying), the button that went missing will have been sewed backed on.

We are still waiting for that new job to come around. We are still waiting to have and get the results of my daughter’s lump. We are still waiting for the fucking pipes to stop knocking, and to have a good night’s sleep because at the end of the day, whether you are delivering pizzas or studying a broad, or writing that final paper, or teaching a class full of squirming children, life goes on, and sometimes you find cash in an envelope and sometimes you realize that no matter what, everything is going to be okay- and if it isn’t there is always wine… and maybe a life of crime!

Love Always

Your Heart Beats On

I was only 12 years old, in fact I had just turned 12 a week before. I was in my bedroom hanging up posters I had received as gifts. I was really into unicorns, and although I can’t remember who bought me that poster, it was the most epic unicorn poster. I was also annoyed with my sister, because we all know how annoying little sisters are, especially if you have to share a room with them!!

In fact, that morning when you were sitting in the porch, and we were arguing over a necklace, you nodded your head to us and said, “Don’t fight with each other hitas, one day you won’t have each other.” I wonder if you knew. If you knew that was the last interaction we would have. You planned an evening at the lake, to go fishing. We wanted to join you- how we loved fishing with you in that majestic lake. You told us no. So in our disappointment we went our separate ways and then a few precious hours later, Grandma came home in a panic. She said you were in an ambulance on your way to the hospital.

Adults don’t like to tell children the truth- or at least the WHOLE truth. Adults think children will somehow get hurt if they are told the truth. They mean well, but children are not as dumb as they treat them. I understand that we want to keep our children safe, and how we desperately want them to stay innocent and pure. When our family got into the car and headed to the hospital I prayed. I can see, no smell the fear around us all. The adults didn’t want to tell us what was going on, only that you were in the hospital.

We beat the ambulance to the hospital. Your heart stopped while you were fishing, and the lake was 30 miles away- a solid 45 minute drive. So our dad took the car to find it and follow it to the hospital. We sat in the waiting area and tried to stay busy. There was an empty receptionist desk, and so my sister and I played pretend until our dad finally appeared. His countenance was grave and his eyes were sunken in. Grandma was sitting with her rosary praying. Mom was watching T.V. No news, only that they were working on him.

When the doctor finally came out, it seemed as if time itself had stopped. Somehow all those little annoyances that were so annoying became no longer such a big deal. Somehow everything I thought was so important, became less important. The only thing that mattered at that time was you. You had to be okay. You had to survive. You would somehow come through, the same way you did when you fought in World War II.

Instead, the doctor told us that you did not make it. The translator for Grandma told her that they did everything they could, and they just couldn’t get your heart to beat again. She dropped her head, clutched her rosary to her heart and cried. All I could do was hold my breath.

When I saw you laying on the hospital bed, it didn’t look like you. I told myself it wasn’t you. I told myself the doctors made a mistake. This was not my Pita. The very life that was inside you, now gone.

It was in the waiting room when dad gave us your coins in your pocket. The coins you collected while over seas. I took it, ran to the bathroom and cried in secret. I didn’t realize I had lost them until that morning. I had spent that night on your bed with my sister. I awoke with the sound of my Uncles and Aunts who arrived from out of town. It felt like a dream, no a nightmare of some sort.

I kept expecting you to walk into the kitchen and make yourself a cup of coffee and listen to the Spanish Radio. I kept expecting to see you sitting in the porch carving out furniture for your grandkids. Instead strangers kept showing up with donuts… so many donuts! Giving us their condolences, and I kept thinking I was going to wake up any time now.

Your heart may have stopped beating this day, 29 years ago, but your heart beats in me, and my sisters and all of the children who called you Pita!

Thank you for teaching our family how to fish, how to love, and most importantly, “don’t fight with each other children, one day you won’t have each other.”

Love Always

A Mother’s Day Story

The parking lot was empty. Just an old building, falling apart but sturdy on the foundation. She just couldn’t hold it in anymore. The tears started to cumulate and the choking feeling in her throat had to be released. She laid her head on the steering wheel and cried. The baby was sound asleep in the back seat and the one forming in her womb stirred. “God, I need food to feed my babies and the church pantry is closed. What do I do?”

It was just two years ago, drunk and no worries in the world. All that mattered was satisfying her desire to fill the void. To feel beautiful and wanted.

The pregnancy test showed positive and all she could do was stare at it and murmur “No, No, No…” She wanted a baby, eventually, but not now, not like this. After all, she did just go through a divorce, at the ripe age of 19. The baby daddy was someone she only knew for a few months.

When she sat on the examining table, the doctor confirmed that she was indeed expecting. He asked what she wanted to do. She was paralyzed with fear but she knew in her heart and soul that she was going to have this baby and to do whatever it took to raise her. It didn’t occur to her to terminate.

The odds were against her. Oh! they were very much against her!

Unmarried. No permanent place of her own. No job. Just a 20 year old college girl trying to find her place in this world.

Leaving that doctor’s office she made a promise to her baby and to herself. She placed her shaky palm on her womb and whispered, “No matter what happens, little one, I promise you that I will give you everything I never had, I promise you that I will protect you and love you.”

That day she and the baby daddy found a place to live and started on journey that would not be comfortable, a journey that would encompass growing pains, hardships, heartaches, and redemption.

Two years later and she was expecting her second child. There wasn’t enough money for the month, and not enough government subsidies to assist with the necessities of life. She knew that a church offered food to families in need. It was closed and she just couldn’t hold it in anymore. Hopeless. Empty. Angry. Angry for letting her life be exactly what she didn’t want it to be. She stared in the reflection of the rear view mirror, eyes swollen and tear stains on her cheeks. She had to admit that she was falling into the same footsteps as her own mother. She stared into those eyes and murmured, “No, No, No… I will not let this happen.”

She left that parking lot, feeling a lot like that old building- falling apart, empty but had a sturdy foundation. That foundation was love, grit, determination, and faith.

A few years later, with a lot of therapy, support groups, faith and facing some Giants along the way, she made a life for herself and her children.

If you ask her today about her “why,” about what makes her so strong and why she works so hard. She’ll tell you their names are Stacy and Kevin. Fourteen years later, God said, “Well, since you love them so much, let’s bring Avery along to spread even more joy, to remind you that children are not an inconvenience, they are the symbol of love, hope and wonder. They are a blessing as you are to me.” There are days I disagree with God when these kids drive me to my breaking point sometimes… but they truly did save my life.

And how true! Because of my children, I learned what God’s love was all about. I may have lived my life backwards, but I would not want it any other way. I cannot imagine a world without my Stacy and Kevin and Avery. After that day at the parking lot, I no longer wondered where food was coming from. Don’t get me wrong, I still hunger. I hunger for more joy, love, peace and faith for the remainder of my life.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mamas out there. Doesn’t matter how your children came into your life, you love them and will do anything for them. I promise you that you are doing better than you think you are.

Also don’t forget to use condoms or don’t forget to take your birth control pills people. 😉 After all, are we not all a product of druken sex? 🙂 That was a joke…

Love Always

It’s Going to be Okay

For the last several years, I have had my students work on a final project to end the school year. I like to end the year with reading of The Giver. If you have not read this piece of treasure, please do yourself a favor and take a few hours and read it. The cliff notes of the story is about a young boy who lives in a Dystopian world-a world with no color, no pain, no past. As the protagonist becomes more enlightened about the world beyond- a world of color, music and love, he makes a heroic escape to “Elsewhere” to save another soul from injustice.

I ask my students to create a Utopia in response to the reading. I ask them to create a money system, a government, theology, family structures, level of technology, agriculture, rituals, traditions etc. I also have them create a flag and map.

It’s a great creative and critical thinking project, and it never fails to amaze me how some of their Utopias turn out.

It does make me think about the world we create in our own minds. Don’t we all carry in our hearts a Utopia of sorts. Don’t we strive to make this perfect world a reality?

In my little perfect world, everyone gets along. There is peace. Everyone forgives and respects each other and drinks beer and eats pizza everyday- without gaining any extra weight.

In my perfect little world, everyone would have a safe home to live in and enough food to eat.

In my perfect little world, everyone is included and there is no need to lie or steal or cheat.

As simple as that sounds, I believe we all tend to create a world in our minds that is much much better than the one we live in.

As middle age becomes me and I ponder more and more about my time here on this planet, I realize more and more that the perfect little world I create causes more problems than it does good.

For one, it makes me feel bad that my life isn’t at all as I imagined it “should be.” The image of my perfect world causes me to “control” situations and problems to fit my idea of what I believe to be best. And when I try to “control” anything in my life- frustration, anger, disappointment and discouragement are born.

You see, when we create this world of what “should be” it is easy to become discouraged by the gap between our ideal and the real. And when we long for the ideal we criticize the real. And then it is tempting to just throw in the towel and give up on the ideal and just settle for the real.

It seems to me that real maturity has to do with living in the in between. To love the reality, without apology or shame, in spite of its imperfections, and still strive for the ideal.

After all are we not called to love REAL people, not IDEAL people?

“The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community (even if their intentions are ever so earnest), but the person who loves those around them will create community.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For me it is time to destroy my ideas of what “should be.” I don’t want to hold people to a standard that I myself cannot live up to. As a human race, we will fall short. We will hurt others. We will make wrong decisions. We will cheat. We will lie. And then we will also love. We give when there is a need. We encourage others. We laugh. And we have moments of exquisite happiness when a child is born, or get married, or reach a challenging goal of some kind. And then in a blink of an eye all that was good is taken away- divorce, death, rifts. Then slowly we once again experience the rich grace God has for us all.

Brene Brown teaches that we as humans have a strong need to belong. To be a part of a community. She states that the opposite of belonging is not aloneness, but fitting in. When we create a world that others or situations must “fit” in order for us to be happy, then we have experienced a taste of hell.

This post is to encourage you- because you might find yourself in a situation that doesn’t make any sense. Maybe your brother decides that his life is better without you. Maybe you find yourself in a place of unemployment and uncertainty. Maybe you find yourself divorced- twice or three times. Maybe you just found out about a diagnosis. Maybe you are in the middle of grief and mourning. Maybe you find yourself an outsider of some sort. Maybe your marriage is not anything as you planned. Maybe you have been betrayed, abandoned or abused.

I encourage you right now because life IS suppose to be hard, and crazy and messy and confusing. Life isn’t a neat tidy experience. It is in the chaos we find peace when realize that we are not alone in our ugliness and beauty. Embrace what is and strive to suck less with each day we are given. We CANNOT control the surroundings- but we can choose to love or life anyway, because life loves you! Life is a gift and the people in them is your treasure. Love them and your life, and you will be okay!

Love Always