Talitha koum…



God is good


I haven’t written in a long while.  And this is so not what I imaged my first post from hiatus to be. Not that I hadn’t wondered about this day.  What it would feel like, be like…  because I have. 


It isn’t anything like I thought it would be.  And yet a little familiar too.  Nothing could really prepare me for this.


How could it?  The kind of relationship I had with my father doesn’t beget neatly boxed or mentally prepared moments…


My life has always been a whirlwind of crazy and chaos.  That much has stayed consistent.  I’m quite good at waking up and rolling with what ever comes my way. 😉

My mind is fighting myself with each tap tap tap of the keyboard as nothing in me wants to continue this post.  It’s forcing me to be present.  I don’t want to be present right now.  As my sister of my heart is always reminding me ‘that which I fear is often that which I should write about most’…  Love her so much.  She makes me brave.  ❤ How blessed we are to have people in our lives that encourage us to be better and more courageous people??? ❤  ❤ Very…  (love you, Sum) ❤

I wake up early every morning declaring this day a battle against the forces that fight against me — and I push through every single voice in my head that has me defeated already (so many layers…) — before my feet have even hit the floor.  Because I have to keep living — somehow.  This is a blessing.  Yes.  A blessing.  Because it keeps me present.  It keeps me focused.  And I know He’ll get me through another day, like He always does — and I have faith — if I just keep moving and if I just keep walking, I know that little by little I will get there.  Life is a journey.  So I breathe.  So I pick up my mat.  I begin my practice, and I connect my body to my spirit.  And dammit, some days it’s so very heavy and it’s so freaking hard for those of you who do not know this pain.  We all have our “things”, right?  I remind myself of this and pray for all of us.  So many of us.  I know I’m not alone…  (I see you too…  hang in there, loves,  hang the hell on…) ❤  Some days are hard.  Some days are easier.  But every single day is a blessing.  And every single day we get to BE a blessing! ❤

These past few days have been somewhat of a blur of numb.  And I don’t WANT to be present or connected anymore.  This is a slippery slope for me… so.I.write.

After I got the bizarre phone call — because of the nature of the conversation — that went from one story to another as it changed, my sister said she ‘wasn’t going to do an homage of sorts, of course’ (and I was thinking, ‘why on earth would you???’ as my first visceral reaction of procession to all of the contents of the words of what just transpired) but then she put together an Instagram post.  One of which I didn’t even know about until a couple of friends reached out to me and asked if I was okay, and to let me know they were sorry.  So there was that.  Using the word father.  Crediting this person with life and addressing heaven.  It was all just too much for me in this instant of a moment.  Maybe one of her ways or  pieces of healing.  We all choose differently and uniquely.   It’s what makes us human, after all. ❤  And I wasn’t going to write a darn consonant or vowel.  Cause numb.  Yet here I am.  In this head space.  Writing.  Because it’s how I heal…

Huge life events bring out different things in all of us.  We’re human and so unique in that humanity, aren’t we?  In death some of us choose to remember better than it was, some of us choose to remember as it was, and some of us choose to not remember at all.  The mind is interesting like that.  In a way, it ‘takes care’ of us like that.  And equally interesting is the way in which those different ways of remembering can cause pain to those close to us.  It’s not intentional.  It just happens.  It’s all part of the circle of things, isn’t it?  It’s a process unique to all of us.  This is mine.

For me, authenticity is the only path through anything.  My brain is super annoying like that.  It’s super annoying to other people like that.  Really.  It’s a disorder of sorts.  It’s just pedantically how I tick.  I can’t escape it.  I’ve tried — for the sake of my husband and the “awkwardness” this sometimes entails sometimes for his family as well (and social situations 😉 ).  Apparently, there are no meds that really work for it.  😉  Yet — ultimately everyone has their choices in which to deal.  And we all have our lens, we all have our experiences, and we all have our way of dealing with the pain those experiences illicit.  And sometimes our brain tries to save us.  I get this.  I often wish mine would.  Sometimes I wish I never started therapy.  Just kept suppressing.  But then, I would have never started really living.  I would have never been free.

So now we get awkward… (it’s what I do best…)

See, the “creating” part of life isn’t all that difficult to me.  Sure, it’s a miracle — but a miracle that was created by God.  Not by us mere humans.  I’m not so hubristic as to think that we came up with and manufactured this whole process all on our own.  We’re fantastic yes, but not THAT amazing.  Shooting sperm into an egg takes a couple of seconds (give or take).  It’s the process thereafter that means more to me in terms of our significant fingerprint on the relevance of things.  The lifetime process thereafter of raising a child.  How we build up and strengthen our children, not systematically choose to destroy them or use them for our selfish purposes…

In that regard, I had a God that created me — friends, my husband, family, myself, teachers, several therapists (God bless them –really, amazing people, so thankful), amazing people (I do use that word often 🙂 ) and the Holy Spirit — that were involved in my creation.  And part of that creation?  It involved freaking YEARS of surviving and undoing what had been done to me, by my parent’s choice.  And I’m still working on all of this.  Respecting creation, I’ll thank God and everyone who truly had a part in that.  Not the person who didn’t think I was worth breathing and made a point to let me know that pretty much every single day he had the chance.  And if my father had a mental illness, it would have been amazing to know this as a child, young adult, and adult.  I was not made aware of this.  I was only ever aware that it there was something wrong with me.   It was something that I hoped in the exchange for the possibility of my inherent evil, but was not told.  I really thought the voice he was hearing was God’s.

I thank God for breath.  He had me in His plans before the creation of the world.  And how I came to be?  He had a plan for that too.  So I will credit God, who holds the plans he has for me — and always has and always will.  If He wanted me here, I would have come to be. 🙂  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29: 11

I understand peace and transcendence and wanting that for your self … yes, I SO do — but truth doesn’t need to be void from it.  They all coexist.  In fact, for my journey, true sustained peace requires it.  Years of walking THROUGH pain — not over, not under, not around — but THROUGH — has taught me that much.   Again, my journey.  Not everyone’s.  And part of this through? — reading through diaries I had kept since the age of 7 all throughout my college years until my babies were born — then I got too busy and started reaching out to all of you here.  Painful as hell.  Especially the first time.  Yes.  But necessary — especially in my family where things weren’t talked about and are forgotten.  It’s like I have to remind myself that it was bad.  That it wasn’t okay.  That it wasn’t normal — in the scope of your average, typical “family” fare.  That hey, it’s really more than okay that you freaking feel this way, Ang.  Because it  became my “normal”.  And really, until I got out of that “cult” of living and went to college?  I did not truly and fully know or grasp or even understand how messed up it was.  How messed up I was.  And how deeply and utterly self preserved I was — all in my neat little quiet package (because we do not speak or betray the family — my phone conversations were even listened to)  — all of the mechanisms I had used to self cope, to take care of me, to just make it on a daily existence — one foot in front of the other level, to rationalize the abuse — and it all went into self harm (because I needed to inflict more abuse to my body!!!! (ug), and to my brain, because I believed I was so vile) — and I took personal responsibility for absolutely everything (because I had been taught to and told to —  “you were always such an anxious child”). Barf.  All of it.  And I wasn’t really angry about it, on the outside.  That would draw attention.  I didn’t want any attention.  I so perfectly internalized it all. I was a good girl. A good kid. Despite everything being said about me.  So ironic looking back on all of that.

Loves, if you’re angry, rage a little.  Really.  If you’re sad, be sad.  Cry.  Feel it.  It’s okay to feel it.  And you might still feel it from time to time for quite some time.  That’s okay too.  You’re not a bad person for having feelings.  For having a voice.  Have a voice.  I found mine so very late.  I’m just so blessed by the people who helped me find it at all.  Really. For encouraging me to sustain it.   Thanks to all of them.  I still think quite often, is it okay if I talk? now sometimes…  because it’s still scary. But —  We are here to be who God created us to be.  We all have a unique purpose.  No rival.  No one gets to take that from us.  “Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.”  Esther 4:14.  “For such a time as this.”  Speak, sister.  He’s got you.  ❤

And it’s funny how this is SUCH a hard habit to break.  I actually had this epiphany just a few days ago during yoga.  I am critically hard on myself.  On my awareness of myself.  I expect nothing less than perfection and am acutely aware of my endless flaws.  So.many.flaws.  I’m REALLY good at being flaw-full (y’all get this from my other blog posts, I’m sure 😉 ). I’m a hot mess of mistakes.  I try SO hard to get away from this (hence the yoga — smile), but it is a prison and a bondage I wrestle with constantly.  I demand the absolute best from myself at all times.  And yet, the absolute best has yet to be given TO me by anyone but Jesus (and I realize he’s the only one who will 🙂 )…  I give so much breadth and width to others.  Why can’t I give it to myself???  When those who were supposed to give me love, provide and care for me have  failed  — and I am totally okay with them simply throwing their hands up in the air and saying “oh for heaven’s sake, I did the best I could.  I don’t remember.  I didn’t.  I forgot.  Everyone makes mistakes”  — and my all time favorite — “Just get over it…” and it’s all forgiven — and I, somehow, end up taking responsibility for it all.  I yet I continue to demand perfection from myself, take absolute responsibility for all things (those that aren’t even mine to take), yet don’t really seem to demand it from others…  Why?  Because I don’t ever want to be like them?  Because some one HAS to?  Because I never feel worthy?  Because I believe everyone gets five billion chances? Because Jesus said to turn the other cheek?  Because I always feel like one should have hope?  Or because I am the only piece of this cray fest I can control?

I truly do not know what the answer is to that question…  but I’m also truly done asking it.  We all have choices.  And mine is to get off of this infernal wheel…  I need to let go of feeling like I have to have it all together and be everything to everyone.  And so I write… ❤ It frees my brain, it frees my voice, it frees my soul…

I am at peace.  I have forgiven.  And the shortness and quickness of those words does nothing to show the incredible length and struggle of that process and journey. But forgiveness doesn’t mean I have to make it prettier.   God makes beauty from ashes.  That’s so amazing, isn’t it?  (this journey isn’t pretty, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold holy beauty. ❤ ) Or that I need to somehow imply that any of  it was okay or just a different way of ‘doing things’ — a mere ‘difference in philosophy’ or ‘lifestyle choices’.  It was pretty ugly.  There was some lovely in it too.  But it wasn’t all pretty.  I’m proud of the work,  I’m proud of the person I’ve become for it, and I’m proud of the voices that have been released because of it…

Forgiveness, for me,  is realizing that the deep pain that person caused really had absolutely NOTHING to do with you.  It had everything to do with them and the kind of person THEY were.  Those were their choices.  That was their walk.  And yes, you gotta pick up all the broken — but you will.  Every single freaking day of your life, you will.  You will make that choice.  For you, and for those you love.  Because that’s the kind of person YOU are.  And your life will be beyond amazing.  Because you are you and God is God.  And that — THAT person He created for good and for an incredible purpose — and that is a holy miracle.  And that is YOUR miracle.  Amen.

There is peace in knowing that someone that evil is no longer taking isn’t here on earth.  That presence is gone.  And that may sound horribly cruel to some of you.  I realize this.  It doesn’t mean that I am “happy”, it means part of my mind is relieved.  One of the weird effects of my PTSD is that I would see him — when he wasn’t there.  Standing on the corner as the kids and I drove to school, in my home, in my bedroom — actually SEE him.  And then I would have panic attacks.  I would sometimes vomit.  I am hopeful that knowing that he is no longer physically here helps with those episodes.  I also hope the nightmares that I would have here and there diminish (they become more frequent with stress).  That I don’t wake up in my own puke, or having sweat through all of my clothes and wet the bed in terror — because I’ve been raped.   Throughout childhood, one of the ways I was punished was having to stand naked for periods of time (as chosen by him) before my father.  If I struggled with taking my clothes off, I’d have “help”.  He’d look at his watch and the minutes would start.  If I tried to cover myself or cried, the minutes would start again.  This happened well into adolescents.  As did timed and watched showers.  Until high school.  This accounts for the rape dreams for me.  My therapist link it to other issues that don’t bear talking about here.  Some things need to be kept private.  And everything is so real in those moments.  Because even though I am 41 years old, I never feel like an adult.  Ever.  And sometimes I am afraid he is going to come and take everything I love away from me.  Because that’s what he did.  Over and over again.  Friends, who I was, my dignity, all the junk that was made up about me, and I was left to fight for myself. Even within my own family.   And yet I would.  And God never let me go.  We are all such miracles…

And because all of that was hardwired into my brain for so long,  I would also STILL have to remind myself this is MY house and MY family and I am a grown up — I am a grown up — and he can NOT hurt me anymore.  I would have to remind myself of these things — when I would get the psychotic birthday cards, the notes stuck in my doorway — just so Marty and I would know that he knew that even though we’d moved he now knew where we lived (each time we moved, from apartment to apartment from house to house) — the calls from various people asking if we had money to help with this that or the other thing, the calls from the ex-wife he was married to for a year because she was divorcing him — could I help? — if not for her, for her boys — the all of the crazy of it all. That was just in the past nine years or so.  That is my reality.  Not to mention after college.  What my husband and  I went through with our wedding.  And helping my mother through the divorce.  After not being so very blessed in the family’s graces for so long up to that point.  Crying three month old in hand (colic is fun 😉 ), Marty and I did that together.  Off to the court house.  Because I wanted to be good daughter.  I always wanted to be good.  So incredibly thankful for my husband.  Through all of our issues (and as much as I can complain about him 😉 ), he has been through and supported me through so much of life (and has seen so much).  I thank God for him.  Going through everything with his mother and all of this has been tough.  Marty is amazing.  There’s that word again.

And Chuck was graciously given opportunities for reconciliation.  I have my own children.  This was important to me.  The “how could a parent do this, allow this, to happen to their child???” hit me beyond hard after having my first.  It still hits me from time to time during big (and small) childhood moments with my own boys.  But what also hits me is the want and need for family.  So I tried.  I tried.  And I feel like I constantly try and give chances in this department.  And I am also so incredibly aware that God gives us family all around us.  That that word is a verb. Not just a noun.  It’s what we do.  Another gorgeous moment(s) in reading my diaries (took a few times) 🙂 — is seeing all of the people God placed in my life along the way.  Thank you, heavenly Father.  You have always taken care of me. ❤

And I do I believe in hell.  I know it’s not a popular theology as of late.  I’m a minority.  And I believe there is some sort of a place for people who choose to crush innocence and mitigate the existence of childhood.  I don’t morn the loss of it, my childhood that is.  I just know I really didn’t get to have one.  And I know it doesn’t really matter what I believe to any of you.  At all.  Not a single bit.  It shouldn’t.  And I am not pretending to be God.  I’m not Him.  I’m not the one who does the judging nor the condemning.  Regardless, I don’t believe in a God who doesn’t have a sense of justice — of right or of wrong.  And that for those of us who can’t scream or have a voice on this earth through epochs of our lives, who are invalidated, smeared, silenced — just maybe those who take our voices away get to do some screaming somewhere else…  And maybe it’s not hell, for those of you for whom that word is too harsh.  Maybe there’s a middle place.  Maybe there’s a place of omniscient understanding.  A place where everything comes together.  Where our pain connects to the place of the hearts of people who weren’t able to feel or understand that pain.  For what ever reason.  A connection room.  I can’t imagine we get to go around hurting people all of our lives and then not learn from that — ever.  That makes this existence the most futile and pointless reason for creation… for all of us.

I can’t honestly cry over the loss of a father.  Because I never had one of those.  That word is reserved for someone precious.  I can’t even cry over the loss of a relationship — because I truly never had one of those either.  It was rather one sided in the trying department.  You can’t really have a relationship with someone you fear.  Someone who tells you who you are, but doesn’t know who you are or even takes an interest in getting to know you — because all of the you is bad.  It was all (and is still, to some extent) absolute insanity.


Thanks to the friends that have been with me through this all of this and that stay up till midnight and beyond through my bad times and get me.  Who don’t shame me.  Hold my hand, my tremors, and my heart.  You are so very precious.  I get beaten up and broken from time to time.  We all do, don’t we?  Other times I know I won’t let you in for anything.  In those times, thanks for understanding that I need space.  For understanding that during these times I am not building walls, that I just need space.  And often much of it (smile).  Sometimes it’s too freaking scary in there.  I know you know me well enough to understand that I don’t do fake.  So I just need time.  And all of this?  It’s sometimes just too dark.  And sometimes that dark is even too dark and heavy for me and I don’t want to put that on you.  Or just walk around sad all the time. Because I know it will pass.  It always does.  It never lasts forever.  Nothing lasts forever.  Not even the darkest darkness.  ❤ ❤ ❤

But it’s never too dark or heavy for Jesus.  So I will give it all to him.  Every day.  And what a blessing that is?!?!?!?!?!  And how close we walk.  ❤ And in him there is no darkness.  And he’s been through it all (and then some).  How small are my tribulations! 🙂  I may often feel like a little girl trapped in an adult’s body (smile). Yet HE makes me strong.  He IS the reason I AM.  I KNOW this.  Down to my bones and my beating heart and the soul that is filled with his Holy Spirit.  This.much.I.know.   His.love.remains.  His love always remains.   Again, what holy miracles we are. ❤ ❤ ❤

To hear that the person that gave me the literal sense of  life and then subsequently did his best to destroy it passed away on Father’s Day — and how do I feel, and how am I doing?

I don’t know…

But I do know that the God he claimed to hear and speak to he has finally met.

And I will too. 

So humbling.

I will too.  That very same God.

So, as my tattoo in Aramaic daily reminds me —

“Talitha koum” Little girl, arise! (Mark 5:41).

Because we don’t get to choose the hand we are dealt, but we get to choose how we walk with it and carry it now — don’t we?

And I am certainly thankful for what I went through and daily struggle with in that it has taught me to see people and love them in ways I otherwise may not have.  I know this. It has taught me to be brave.  It has taught me to be humble.  And it has taught me to love and hold onto God in a way I know I would not.  Vulnerable?  Painfully, yes — from a space that is constantly pierced open.  Making lots of mistakes?  Yes.  But I’d like to think, always growing.

Slow is still a pace.

Namaste — the light in me, sees the light in you.

And it’s holy beautiful.

(After having a lengthy conversation with my beautiful sister, I want to reiterate and make it very clear that I did not have any intention of coming off as angry in this post… and I had no intention of hurting or disrespecting my family…  I love them very much. ❤ My father was constantly in my prayers.  And it may appear as if this girl is stuck in the past — but I don’t believe that is so — some memories come back up with big things like death, I believe — but I also believe that some things are ‘forever heals’ — till we meet the one who heals all things.  And that this is not a bad thing.  Not a bad thing at all.  In fact, it makes us strong and present and courageous.  Not only for ourselves — but for others.  It’s kind of like our super power.  It makes us more — not less.  We are not less.  We were never less.  So every day we take the chance to grow and use our healing for others.  To do what we can to lift those who aren’t yet ready to lift themselves.  To let them know that we were once there too.  And that they can.  Maybe not right at this moment.  But one day.  They will.  And that’s not living in the past.  That’s living in a miracle.  And that’s pretty freaking precious.  So yes, when I wrote this — in that space of just finding out all of the everythings of death and what that all brought rushing back for me — some things came up.  But they don’t last forever.  Nothing ever does.  Not even darkness.  It’s not eternal.  But love is.  But.love.is.  Let’s not forget that.  And be kind to each other.  Please.  Love is never wasted.  Ever.  Nor is forgiveness.  Blessings and hope.) ❤ ❤ ❤

You did not waste your love




Magic and Miracles

“Why do you look for the LIVING among the DEAD?  He is not here; he has RISEN!”

Luke 24:5b-6a

Let’s talk about fairytales…

They’ve been around for hundreds and hundreds of years.  Maybe longer.  Let’s just say, they’re really, really old.  They’re kind of like pieces of  our history.  They are also unique to our cultures, our heritage, varying from continent to continent — changing and evolving as they have been retold from generation to generation.  They’re little pieces of us.

I happen to love them. They’re treasures.  I may be slightly infatuated with them.  I have been since my childhood.  They were a refuge of sorts for me.  They gave me hope.  Good verses evil.  In the most dire of circumstances.  The strongest faith was necessary to overcome the darkness.  Might didn’t make right.  Good could come in very small and unassuming packages.  But it always prevailed.  To a little girl with no voice, this was an extremely powerful message.

And as I’ve grown, they’ve continued to be a comfort.  Home comes in many shapes and forms to me — and it’s not often a physical place.  And as someone who thoroughly enjoys similes, metaphors, and all the ways in which fables and these fairytales of yore seem to so applicably apply to our very nows — well, I still cozy up to them with my own children…

I love the twists and turns, the magic, something your eyes thought was just isn’t, the impossible is always possible, the old is made new, those who appear so very weak can be so very strong — the urchins, nothings, cast aways of society have the bravery of lions, hearts of gold — appearances can be deceiving in good and bad ways, so you must judge a person by their character — kindness matters, and ultimately the power of love saves us all.  True love is everything. 

Fairytales teach us much.  They teach us to be kind.  That good conquers evil.  That faith and doing the next right thing will take us far.  That even peasants can be princesses.  That we should never judge a book by it’s cover.  Heroes can be everyday people just like us.  And the power in that?  Well, that’s pretty amazing.  You too can slay your dragons…

dragons can be beatenAnd so I’m sitting here with a cup of Earl Grey and listening to James Taylor, the original JT, allowing my heart to drift along to “Something In the Way She Moves” and thinking back to a different time — when things were altogether much more complicated — yet possessed a unique sense of simple.  Although dragons may weaken in their strength and size and their fire power may subside from a substantial blazing infernal bellow that could originally consume me from the inside to the outside to now just occasionally quaking my toes when I get the faint reminisce of smoke — new dragons often enter in to new phases of our lives — some taking advantage of where others have wounded and scarred so very deeply — intentionally striking at some of the same gashes that have yet to heal.

Life is a battle.  And many of us are walking wounded.  And there just aren’t enough Band-Aids in the world now, are there?

And why is it that we continue to get up and walk at all?  Why do we refuse to give up when there are so many dragons, when there will always BE dragons?  Is it because we are strong?  Because we are determined?  Because we are brave?  Because we are proud?  Is it because we have something to prove?  Because of this faith thing?  Because we believe in something bigger then ourselves like love, or something else that is more powerful than us? Is it because we are silly miracles chasers, because we believe in something truer, more real, and more powerful than anything we can describe or see with our eyes or even our hearts? Is it because of our children or those we love?  Hmmmmmm.  I wonder…

Maybe it is some of these things, or all of these things, or none of these things on any given day.  But, ultimately, it’s always this one thing for this girl.  Yes, ultimately it is this that I know the merciful and miraculous ending to my amazing great Rescue story (and we ALL have a great Rescue story)…

I know the last page. 

Well, this spherical one…

 And this is something that fairytales do NOT give us — will never posses or teach us.  It is something another book far more powerful has rendered this soul.  And this is no fairy tale, friends. This is very, very real. 

This hard, sometimes outright painfully miserable, yet full of so much beauty it hurts story — I know the ending — and it is pretty fantastic.  It is far better than any fairy tale ever written.  And it makes all of this — what ever the THIS may be — worth it.

So I hold out, and I hold on, and I continue to believe — no — I continue to KNOW that TRUE LOVE CONQUERS ALL.  So what ever I may seem to feel like I’m missing in these holes in my heart, what ever I may seem to come up short in in my “enough-ness” raging on in this battle down here for good against all this evil — sweet, sweet hearts — I know the ending to my story —

and the ending is —  there is no ending

and that’s the miracle — the biggest miracle

all because of a choice made for love — true love

a sacrifice — on a cross — the greatest Rescue

❤ the greatest love story  ever written ❤

And although I may spend this earth part forever fighting my dragons in this precarious and precociously teetering place of balance between listening to God’s voice and knowing when to act in bravery for Him and when to be still and allowing Him to fight for me — I know that when my last breath is reached, I will never have to fight again.  And when my body dies, my beastly dragons die with it.  My true self and soul will be set free.  And those angels who watch over me (poor things are quite busy) —  I’ll get to see them too!  And although I really don’t need or even desire streets paved in gold — a back country road is heaven enough for me — I’ll get to walk those too — with a Father who has always held me.  But this time, he will be so close, I will never feel that hole in my heart again.  No need for Band-Aids.  No need for fairy tales.  No need to fight any dragons or darkness.  Nothing but light.  Nothing but love.

Happy Easter, loves.

Happy FOREVER LOVE, my friends.

Here’s to KNOWING the ending to our story.

And here’s to LIVING our lives so that others may know theirs too… ❤

Goodbye, Jelly…

“Jelly just blew bubbles and swam in circles.  That’s all he did.  And he was happy.”  Griffyn

The past few days for this family have had a few hiccups.  I won’t call them bad days, as days are neither bad nor good, they just are–and there is most often always something beautiful to be taken from them–even in the pain.  Almost always.  But there is always, always–— something to be thankful for.

A storm blew through our neck of the woods and our little part of town got a lot of water–a LOT.  Up to car tires, up to your waist (if you so chose to wade out into the street) and our basement got some water — but my oldest and I were able to keep up with it–since our sump pump (including our back up) could not.  Praise God for that!

My eldest blew me away with his calm demeanor.  He is usually a very anxious little guy.  I was so proud of him.  As we were scooping pitchers of water together as fast as we could and dumping them into plastic tubs that were meant to store winter clothes and decorations, backs and arms aching (water is heavy, sweating in the humidity, the monotony of bending over and moving heavy tubs, the stress — on young or old — it physically took a toll) — he repeatedly reminded me that God had this, we would be okay, and that he was so thankful we were home. I was so thankful he was there with me, calming me, helping me keep up with the ever raging current of water that was coming into the house.  G kept coming in, taking pictures, asking questions, offering suggestions–and of all things–wanting to play outside (it was also hailing–which looked like snow–which looked awfully inviting to my six year old).  He also wanted to know who had ordered the “fwimmming pool” that had coagulated all around our house in the backyard.  To him, “dat is tool”!!! My husband was at a class, so it was just me and my boys–and in those crazy, intense and stressful afternoon hours–my oldest so adeptly took on the role of man of the house.  I just stood in awe and could not tell him enough how proud I was of him.

And then, well, water is really stinking heavy (and stinky…).  I couldn’t carry or move those huge tubs anywhere worth a darn.  We waited for Daddy to get home and then he had the pleasure of carrying the water up from the basement and outside to dump it out — more hours of back breaking fun.  Max helped with opening doors and encouraging all of us.  A long day and night–further elongated by any little drop of rain inciting “CHECK IT!!!!!! CHECK IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” by my six year old who is now fearful of any deluge of water and what it may do to our basement and is insistent someone is checking on that damn sump pump when ever the sky takes on the appearance of eminent rainfall.  Good times, good times.

So I was very groggy this morning as I was fumbling around the kitchen getting the boy’s breakfast ready.  Marty had already left for class.  I was looking for something besides bread for my kids–too much bread eating going on–I’m gluten free and I’m trying to cut down on their intake as well.  Bananas and nutella it is.  And I need some caffeine, but coffee has not been kind to my stomach.  Hmmmmm, tea it is.  What am I forgetting?  Oh yes, Jelly–Jelly, our beautiful red beta, needs to be fed.  Oh dear God, Jelly is dead!!!!!!

Sure enough, there was our vibrant red beta, not so very vibrant, still as–well death–lying on the bottom of his jar.  Tears started welling up in my eyes.  What the hell?  Really?  Like my boys need this?  G will be devastated!  I have NOT had enough sleep to deal with DEATH this morning!!!  I even bought the special water drops.  THE SPECIAL WATER DROPS, do you hear me?  Why I was screaming at heaven, I don’t know–but no one else was around to scream at–and I certainly wasn’t going to scream at my children.  And why did Marty always have to miss out on all this stuff?  Why the crappity crap was he NEVER freaking home for any of this?

Breathe.  Just breathe.  The boys need breakfast.  We need to get to swimming lessons.  Griffyn always wanted to take Jelly to swimming lessons…

So, it all went okay.  G gets like I do when he’s really sad.  Super quiet.  Doesn’t make a sound.  He goes inside.  We flushed Jelly, said a little prayer, and expressed some good memories–but we kind of had to hurry–because, you know–breakfast, swim lessons.  G will STILL not use that bathroom.  Our counter top looks so bare without our little friend.  G won’t let me take his name sign down yet. “It’s still his pwace, Momma.” 

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We talked about heaven, again, on the way to swim lessons.  It seems we can’t escape it.  Jelly’s gonna be there.  Oh yes.  Most certainly.  And when we got to swim lesson, in God’s perfect timing, G’s friend, Addy, had made all of us little fishy charms.  She had no idea what had happened that morning.  It was all so perfect.  G smiled and looked at me and said, “I’m going to name mine Jelly.”  And I was once again reminded, in the little things (that are SO very big)– how amazing God’s providence is.  Thank you, sweet Addy.  It made my boy’s morning–your little fish treasures.

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We’ve had a beta before.  Max’s little friend, Lady, lived for 2 and a half years.  Crazy long for a pet fish.  Max fed Lady toast and pizza.  Lady jumped out of her bowl numerous times and even landed himself (yes, it was a boy) in the garbage disposal.  We didn’t even buy the special water drops for Lady.  Lady was a tough and crazy fish.  Jelly was pretty mellow.  And Griffyn loved Jelly with all of his heart–as he loves everything.  The ‘Peppa Pig’ episode today was about her fish.  We had to change it…

He’ll be okay.  I know this.  He knows this.  It just hurts.  And life hurts sometimes.  We’re going to feel it right now and let ourselves feel it.  And that’s okay too.  It’s okay to feel things.  It’s good to feel things.

Jelly was happy with the simple things.  Jelly didn’t do anything for G.  He couldn’t be cuddled, or pet, or walked.  He didn’t do tricks.  He wasn’t super fancy.  He wasn’t very good at keeping a person company.  G did all the work of feeding him and helping me clean his bowl out every week.  But G loved him anyway–for “nuffin” (as explained by G when a friend didn’t understand why G was SO excited and happy about getting a fish when they were ‘boring’ and ‘didn’t do anything’ — G said he just ‘lubbed him for nuffin’ — he loved him just the way he was — that thing we call unconditional love).

You know, those are pretty big lessons to learn from a tiny little fish.  And we talked about those, and we’re thankful for those.  They went in our thankful jar.  Just like the note “I am thankful for Jelly” that went into the thankful jar the first day G got Jelly.  Life is full of thankfuls.  Jelly was a thankful.  And that’s really all I have to say about that…