I love you

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Who Is Saying “I Love You”, to You?

Each of us in this life wants more than anything to be loved. We work for love. We strive for love. We make fools out of ourselves for love. We long to feel that love warming our hearts and souls. We strain our ears each day for just a whisper of those three glorious words: “I love you.”

What most of us don’t realize, however, is just how much God loves us. God is showing us and telling us how much He loves us everyday. When you see the sun rising over the mountains, feel the cool breeze kissing your face, and hear the sweet songs of birds blessing your ears that is God saying, “I love you.” When you see the adoring eyes of your dog looking up at you and feel the gentle brush of your cat against your hand that is God saying, “I love you.” When you hear music that uplifts your soul with joy and read words that make your heart and mind soar into the heavens that is God saying, “I love you.” When you hear the laughter of children playing and feel the warm hug of your own child against you that is God saying, “I love you.” When you have the loving support of your family and the wonderful kindness of your friends no matter what you are going through that is God saying, “I love you.” When you find your thoughts and feelings always leading you towards growth, learning, love, and joy that is God saying, “I love you.” When your life’s circumstances both good and bad help you to keep growing stronger, better, happier, and more loving each day that is God saying, “I love you.”

God is always telling you and showing you just how much He loves you. Don’t be afraid then to say, “I love you too God.” Don’t be afraid to live that love in your life either. Love God with everything you have and with everything you are. Love yourself, love your neighbor, and make this whole world your neighborhood. Always remember that God is love, that life is joy, and that we are one. And always listen for the million ways that God says, “I love you.”

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I Surrender All

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Millions suffer daily fighting all diseases. Some are “invisible” like mine is with Lupus, because if you saw me you’d have no idea the war being battled inside my body as I’ve heard endless times “But you don’t LOOK sick!”..no, I don’t, unless you see me on a day where my joints are so stiff I’m walking like Frankenstein, swollen joints all hidden by clothing with the exception of my hands. You can’t tell that my shower drain is clogged with clumps of hair every time I wash it. You can’t see the adhesions that are throughout my entire abdomen on the inside, wrapping themselves around & attaching to my bowel, liver, kidneys. You can’t see the scarring throughout my liver and left kidney or the level of inflammation throughout my system, but it’s all there.

Those closest to me that have walked this journey with me, supported me, can hear immediately in my one word Hello upon answering the phone that I’m not having a “good” day. The most frustrating part of these invisible diseases is the not knowing how you’re going to feel from one day to the next, even one hour to the next. You have to learn, plan every detail based on your level of strength for that day especially during a flare. It is challenging to say the least, but my Faith & my personality don’t allow me to stay down for long, which is a Blessing I receive constantly throughout every day.
How do you get to this mindset? The image above sums it up perfectly…

SURRENDER. I surrender All, arms outstretched, wide open, heart, mind, body & soul in complete alignment as one. Surrendering does not mean giving up or losing hope. It means you make the conscious choice to let everything go: the mistakes, the failures, the bad memories, the sadness, the heartache..anything that is negative so you can open yourself to all that is good, remember the beautiful & keep it close to your heart like your favorite blanket on your bed tucked up underneath your chin on a cold winters’ night or the scent of cologne on your pillow giving you dreams of memories that are indelibly marked on your heart forever.

I learned how to do this long ago but since I’m a mere human I slip back into old mindsets, trying to control what is happening in my life, my body. It doesn’t work, ever. Thankfully, I learn from my mistakes easily, ask forgiveness when I’m wrong & forgive in kind. I have the ability to release the negative and focus on the positive, which makes a huge impact on my daily life. It takes practice to achieve this mindset of peace but once you feel that peace that warms your very soul you’ll decide immediately to maintain that peace because it gives you strength, security and love. I get that level of peace only through my faith & prayers.

Yes, I have an illness that’s made me a complicated patient to treat but this is a complicated disease. I know from experience when I need a spiritual tune-up because my body tells me so. I may not listen all the time right away but I do listen, and I feel the physical shifting of energy that is occurring at a strong level right now, pushing me toward the lightness I keep in my soul. The Light of Love, my core being, my Divine purpose for living. The words “I am Love” keep popping into my head lately even while sleeping. That is my message to look within, reflect on recent words, actions or inactions and give myself an attitude adjustment. That act in itself alone is very freeing, healing.

2012 is coming to a close, a year overflowing with tremendous change, challenge, grief, growth and renewal. The Christmas break from school has given me the gift of precious time alone with my son for an unprecedented 10 consecutive days facing our first Christmas as a separated family, which was more painful than I’d thought it would be, nothing at all to do with Lupus, everything to do with continuing our new life together.

The painful moments brought us closer together, gave each new respect for each other, deepened our profound love for each other. We laughed louder, stayed up until the middle of the night just talking & being together. So many precious moments that make me want to freeze the clock to continue sharing this time.

Tomorrow will arrive, bringing our time together to an end as it’s his time to be with his Dad. My birthday is New Years’ Eve, the first as a single woman and the first birthday I’ll be without my family. I’ll be on my own, alone, but not lonely. It will feel strange I’m sure, but it’s my Birthday. What a year it’s been and I look forward to the year ahead with much hope, love, confidence and vision. I will indeed be celebrating myself on New Years’ Eve!

I envision many great things for my life; if you don’t think BIG, shoot for the stars with all you have, you will be continuously disappointed. I believe in second chances & give them; why not do the same for myself?  Our thoughts affect every aspect of our lives and I choose to not only believe but SEE myself healthy, healed and continuing to learn, grow, love. It will all happen because I Believe and See that it will.

Everything in life is based on love & circles back to love with every step forward, every stumble aside. Love is who I am, just one of my gifts but definitely the most influential as I am dedicated to helping others in whatever capacity I am led to do so. It’s time to surrender..

I Surrender to All.
Love,
~Jennifer~

The Miracles of Christmas

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There is a feeling of hope, anticipation and excitement every year when Christmas draws near. It’s getting increasingly difficult to get into the Spirit of Christmas when the retailers start putting up their displays at Halloween in this world of technology, entitlement & instant gratification in which we live..if we choose to live that way.

It IS possible to keep the true meaning of Christmas in our hearts throughout the entire year: the day the baby Jesus was born, our Savior! The very first Miracle!

A precious baby that grew into our Lord Jesus Christ, who performed miracle after miracle, healing the blind, the sick & the lame to state just a few examples. Jesus, the great Physician healed all who believed in Him (John 5 1:9).

I believe in Him for I’ve been granted miracle after miracle of true healing from serious health problems throughout my life thus far and just received yet another. I’ve survived medical emergencies that Doctors have no medical reason how I survived. I knew my Faith then was the reason & as time marches on, and I’m suddenly facing my 46th birthday when I feel like I’m still in my early 30’s, it’s impossible not to reflect on the simple fact that miracles do happen every day, yet these miracles feel so much more magical, spiritual when they happen right before Christmas.

Miracles come in all forms, shapes and sizes; many times they come disguised as Blessings we did not even realize we needed until we receive them. Sadly, many of us get easily caught up in the day to day mad rush of hurrying to get everything done; surely I am just the same at times! We are so preoccupied with all the many daily tasks that another day is over, never to be returned. Do you remember anything at all about your day? What did you have for lunch 2 days ago? Did you let another driver take the parking spot you were waiting for graciously, or did you get so angry you were ticked for the rest of your day? Choices. It’s all about choosing how you want to live your life and how you choose to take the high road, be a blessing to someone. Changing that mindset alone is a miracle that will not only bless others, it will indeed come back full circle to you when you’re the one that needs a miracle! The amazing part is how tremendous the gifts you give of yourself to the world unconditionally, without expecting anything in return, will indeed be given to you in great abundance not only when you least expect it but when you actually need it most. I’ve received untold blessings & miracles repeatedly since the day my car broke down & as I sit here with my coffee, looking at my Christmas tree, it’s impossible for me to not think of every single person that made Christmas this year a miracle all it’s own.

I stated in my last post that I got hit with a severe Lupus flare the weekend of Thanksgiving. I felt it coming on but I also had a bad cold & had been under severe stress for weeks prior, robbing me of any chance to sleep. The Saturday after the wonderful Thanksgiving spent with my family I felt horrible as I packed the car to get myself & Noah home. I could barely get out of the car 90 minutes later & I knew Lupus had arrived for a visit.

Hours turned into days that I could only do the minimum of my responsibilities, & the had no reserves to push through like I’m used to doing. Doctor appointments, endless lab work & other testing were as draining as taking a shower. My entire body hurt & if I could have slept around the clock I would have. I was so weak that if the phone rang, I couldn’t lift my arm to answer it…and it was right next to me.

Days turned into weeks, I drop out of contact with everyone because I didn’t have the strength to talk on the phone. When my friends don’t hear from me they know I need help but don’t know how to ask for it.

Here comes the nonstop help from my friends as Christmas was quickly approaching & I was too sick to do anything. First to arrive is Lisa with her 10 month old son Fritz..a baby to love! Lisa drove 4 hours one way for what I thought was a lovely visit to cheer me up; until Lisa starts unpacking a massive basket that was all for myself & Noah fmor Christmas. The freezer stocked full with homemade meals; gifts for Noah & myself, every detail planned. She made me open one card first, and I started crying not only from the generosity contained in that card, but the long list of names of every person that contributed from their hearts. The contents bought our tree, all of Noah’s gifts when I’d already prepared him for one gift this year, with enough leftover to really help me in the areas I needed most.

2 stockings filled to the top with goodies awaiting to see; gift cards & Christmas dinner prepaid. Not one detail was left out. Christmas, our first as a separated family, was literally given to Noah & I! What an overwhelming, generous, loving miracle with love from my dear friend Lisa & baby Fritz smiles, coos & kisses..a tremendous weight taken gently off my shoulders. I can’t wait for Noah to see more than one gift under the tree, let alone share the entire story with him finally! I can’t believe he’s still asleep, a miracle in itself when I’ve been up all night giving thanks for this miraculous Christmas!

I became sicker, the Lupus attacking my liver & kidneys along with the usual joint pain everywhere. Test after test, I feel like I’m losing my strength & I was..my physical strength not my Faith, my spiritual sustenance. Everyone rallied as I gathered myself to fight this on every level of my being…then my Uncle John, my Dads’ oldest brother, was suddenly called Home. I was numb. I tried to make the trip for his funeral but I was too sick to travel. I said my personal goodbye to him & prayed for all of my family. I sent Noah to stay with his Dad all this past week while I made every effort to get out of this flare, get answers, never once not believing I wouldn’t be home with Noah for this very important Christmas..and that miracle was also granted to me as my loved ones united to take care of me, like my friend Judy who put the lights on the tree & also went out of her way in taking care of me & last minute Christmas details right down to wrapping paper & ribbons.

Fast forward to Friday; I’m home & Noah finally returns. Oh isn’t he the very medicine I needed! We decorated our tree Saturday afternoon, a feeling of anxiety in the air as old family ornaments were hung on our tree. Sadness as the moment of reality settles in. We persevered, another miracle. It wasn’t even that upsetting when all the hard work literally came crashing down in the middle of the night because the tree fell over! Now that’s a memory to cherish!

I’m feeling better; not great but knew I was recovering faster than expected based on my increased energy, mobility, & reconnecting to the Spirit of Christmas, the season for miracles.

Christmas Eve arrives. I felt so good, like my regular self, that I never sat down once, baking, wrapping gifts, singing happily before showering & calling it a night. The biggest miracle of all on Christmas Eve..confirmation I am indeed on my way to a full recovery as I felt.

I stood at my kitchen window, washing dishes as the first snowflakes appeared. Soon it was really snowing..Christmas snow, filled with magic, miracles & love.
Falling silently to the ground, a cleansing, a renewal..a magical Christmas miracle to be enjoyed by all from the birth of the baby Jesus so long ago.

Merry Christmas everyone! May the Miracle of Christmas envelop you & your families today and every day!

Love,
~Jennifer~

The Sunset of a New Day

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It’s 5:15pm EST and I just stepped outside as the temperature drops as quickly as the sun in the sky. The colors are more breathtaking than my photography attempts here show but there’s no denying how the beauty of this view fills my soul with peace every time I see it; I rarely miss this opportunity. This sunset is important to me today.

Today I quietly shut another door to my past and this may sound trite to you, but it involved..furniture. That’s right, furniture, living room furniture to be precise. When we moved to this town last year as a family, the 3 of us had to leave the majority of our belongings, including furniture & beds due to the last minute discovery of black mold in our previous home. Saved a ton in packing & moving, but forced us to rent a living room set & a mattress for me. My husband & I were still together, supposedly starting over, re-committing to our marriage. One of the promises made to me was that Chris would stop sleeping on the couch as he’d been for well over a decade, a fight I gave up on long ago until our son realized it was strange that his Dad slept in the living room, not normal as he thought growing up. We left the king size bed and I ordered a Queen for this house, knowing I’d still be sleeping alone..& I did.

I paid off the bed but I was determined to not get stuck with a living room set that reminded me of my ex & was extremely uncomfortable to sit on as well..but honestly, I couldn’t stand the sight of that sofa & loveseat day after day.

The configuration of the sofa & loveseat in a fairly long room felt stifling to me & also cut off access to the dining area/kitchen. I truly wanted that furniture set gone but obviously it was far down the list of wants versus needs, like the winter clothes I was worrying about acquiring for my son, not to mention Christmas is now barreling towards us like a freight train.

I called the store last Monday to make my weekly payment. I was in a stupor of sickness, throat so sore I could barely talk when the manager told me of a deal I couldn’t pass up; get the L-shaped sectional that would allow both myself & my son to have our own space to fully stretch out our long legs comfortably AND an electric fireplace with shelving compartments for media as well as placing our TV on top..for less than what I was currently paying because both were used. Ooh, I’ve been dreaming about that fireplace forever it seems, a luxury I couldn’t afford ever..yet the minute the weather turned cold every year I was constantly looking at these fireplaces online, in stores & dreaming of how nice it would be to curl up with a good book, a hot cup of coffee and just enjoy myself..by myself.

I quickly ran the calculations in my head & said I’d take the deal, setting the delivery date for today. I hung up the phone & thought, this will be something to look forward to after Thanksgiving! Then promptly forgot all about it until I looked at my calendar last night.

Thanksgiving this year was the happiest I’ve had in a very long time, because the happiness came from within. I had a terrible cold, my son was convinced we weren’t going to make the trip back to our hometown because of it, which only made me that much more determined to get us there regardless of how awful I felt as long as it was safe for me to drive. It was the best feeling in the world to see the smile on his face get bigger the closer we got to his Grandparents’ house a day late but Thanksgiving morning nonetheless!

The two of us were like sponges, soaking up all the love from our family crammed around a table overflowing with food. I think I ate more on Thanksgiving day than I’ve eaten in months..I finally had an appetite. The time passed too quickly as usual, but seeing the fun all the cousins were having was like a salve to a burn..Noah needed this time with his family as much as I did. Spending time catching up with my “baby” sister, my Dad who’s been in poor health, his wife Elaine who’s always loved all of us as if we were her own daughters & we are. Noah & I left renewed, anxious to return to visit soon.

The time I got to spend with my son cemented our bond on another level after getting through the prior week of sheer hell. I was grateful to have him an extra night & once he left on Sunday to see his Dad, I just tuned out most of the world. I had a lot of time to think, reflect, remember. I didn’t shed a single tear as I began bringing the Christmas decorations down from the attic myself, along with fixing a broken toilet & figuring out, all by myself like a big girl, how to change the battery in the smoke alarm in my bedroom placed in the highest possible point of the vaulted ceiling. I can fix almost anything in my house so far & love my hammer!

I placed electric candles in every window, it looks so pretty. I have boxes everywhere, taking my time because I realized this is My First Christmas, decorating my house the way I want to.

Today, watching that blasted living room set go out the front door, I felt..free. Happy. Excited!! I was so excited by the immediate difference of the feeling of the entire house..lighter, different, the ghosts of Christmases passed silent, gone. No anger, no..nothing. Nothing but a big smile on my face as the tables & lamps a neighbor that moved months ago gave to me, matched the color of the wood of the fireplace. All used but brand new in my eyes, such a gift!

The process took half an hour & I cleaned every inch of the living room, fireplace blazing, waiting anxiously for Noah to come home to a new room. I had brownies baking in the oven, Noah walks in and his smile was as big as mine, from the inside out. Now, this feels like our Home. We’ve been enjoying the fire, the extremely comfortable sofa, and the feeling of lightness in our hearts as beautiful as the sunset captured above. I hope you find a moment of peaceful beauty in your heart tonight as well.

Peace,
~Jennifer~

Thankful To Be Thankful!

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I haven’t had the strength to write a new post lately, and I’m sick as a dog writing this now, but I’m AWAKE, ALIVE to write it, regardless of having the exact same virus I just had a few weeks ago! That time the virus landed me in the hospital, by myself in this town that literally became my Home just last week. I have so much to be thankful for, the enormity of the richness I have in my life struck last night, and all I could do was look up at the stars & whisper, “Thank You God, for seeing me through”. I didn’t know how I was going to make it through all the incredible hits that seemed endless last week but I held onto my Faith that everything that happened was to teach me a lesson; to remind me of what is important & what’s not; to show me that as long as I continue to live my truth by Faith, I will survive each hit AND come out the other side even stronger yet.

That’s exactly what happened. I’m used to helping others in need. I am not comfortable accepting help for myself because I’ve had to rely on myself just to survive since I was a little girl. Last weekend was the beginning of a nightmare that touched every possible area of my life, set off an avalanche of epic proportions I’d never battled before, & I’ve batted.. and won..so many various wars of Life thus far, I thought myself more than capable of handling anything coming my way.

I was wrong. I was so wrong, I posted something on my Facebook I’ve never posted publicly before: I’m in trouble, my son is in trouble and we need help. I’ve never admitted publicly my fears, my need for prayers because that would show my vulnerability. I’m strong, not vulnerable! Well, my super power cape had been torn off my shoulders leaving me completely exposed. I was shaken to my core on Monday and again, had no idea all that was awaiting to attack me the rest of the week. I received 5 phone calls on Monday from my circle of friends. The amount of people that responded to my request, writing beautiful, uplifting, supportive words of comfort, astounded me.

Every dawn brought another test to add to my overburdened, heavy soul yet was countered by an immediate & unexpected blessing. I received the help I needed to resolve the original problem, but at great personal cost to me..the loss of the presence of a friend I adored & that didn’t become clear to me until the smoke cleared this past weekend. I’ll learn from that loss. I’ve been having car troubles & worrying every morning it wouldn’t start. It finally broke down completely last week, & I’m dedicating an entire blog entry to that experience alone…it was that powerful, that life-affirming. My car runs & the heat even works!

The weather is cold, and i was worried about finding a way to pay for a winter coat, boots & clothes for my son..his needs come before mine always, I can wear a sweatshirt as long as he’s warm. My doorbell rings the next afternoon, a dear friend and her daughter with bags overflowing with coats for Noah as well as for me; boots & sneakers for my teen that is growing so fast I can’t keep up with his sizes! A miracle. I was helped by friends, family & total strangers that treated me like family. I was held as I cried tears that wouldn’t stop falling no matter how hard I fought to keep them in. The loving arms of my girlfriend who has lived through my journey of divorce with children, no words spoken, no need. Every test, I passed. Every trial, I survived. But I didn’t do it alone and now know the beauty of receiving help..it’s so humbling, so powerful, inspires me to pay it forward on a broader scale. Not quite yet, though; now it is time to pause. Reflect on every moment since last Thanksgiving, Chris & I already knowing our marriage was over but decided to remain a family for one last holiday season for our son. How I’m sometimes unrecognizable to myself in the mirror, I’ve grown, changed that much in a very short period of time. I still am and always will be, for one can only grow by risk, mistakes & change, not stagnation or settling. I am deeply thankful and wish you & your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving! Think about all you have to be thankful for and be grateful you are here to be thankful.. that’s the biggest Blessing of all. With love & gratitude, ~Jennifer~

Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again..And Again..And Again

It’s Sunday night, almost 11:30pm EST. Usually I’m in bed by now but instead I just returned from a power walk in the quiet darkness of my neighborhood, the darkness, sorrow and pain I’m trying to quiet by sheer will power alone. It’s not working. I tried putting my Beats headphones on & listening to U2’s “End of the World”, “Bad” and “Trip Through Your Wire” as loud as the volume would go, hoping to drown out the confusion in my head from mixed messages, sadness & disappointment. That didn’t work either.

I can do this because my son is at his Dads since yesterday, the weekly shuffling back & forth between two parents that my son is handling with grace, strength & dignity well beyond his 13 years of age..on the outside. A Mom knows instinctively when her child is hurting for any reason on the inside, & last week we had an excruciatingly painful week of grief, talking and acknowledging our unease & uncertainty the coming holiday season will bring. How do we split up Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day with one child & 2 parental households? How do we not only maintain the healing & peace we’ve attained thus far through literal blood, sweat & tears..how do we push through without backsliding? How do we make it still feel like Thanksgiving & Christmas when our family is broken forever? I still don’t have answers to these questions, don’t know how to ease his pain, his mental & physical exhaustion weekly, how to not feel like I’m being split into shards of glass every time I kiss him goodbye for his time with his Dad? I try to keep myself busy during this “me” time, taking care of myself, reading or getting together with a friend. But lately, with emotions running high, the time lost when I was so sick, the never-ending chores, bills, family issues & friends in distress, I found myself getting let down again. I’m tired of that.

One thing I have been doing a lot lately while Noah’s not here is cry. I cry with pain coming from my soul. I remember how I felt as a younger child when my own parents divorced & it’s impossible to separate that pain from my present pain. I’m not crying for myself. I’m crying for my son, for the feelings he’s keeping inside with a brave face although I see it in his eyes, hear it in his voice, feel it emanating from his being. There is nothing that will buckle my knees in grief at this level than knowing my son is suffering. I have yet to share the trauma of my pregnancy, how I fought to bring him into this world, how I made a choice for his life to be saved at any cost, including my own life. I knew instinctively this child was my only chance to be a Mother; I’d already lost pregnancies before him & the final one after his miraculous birth. I know my son.. anything he feels, I feel.

Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall, had a great fall, who will put Humpty Dumpty back together again? Who is Humpty Dumpty? Anyone who knows loss, grief, death, divorce, battling chronic health issues, survived natural disasters & financial difficulties. We are all Humpty Dumpty. Nobody can put us back together again except ourselves..by God’s grace. This incredible gift of having a true relationship with God isn’t organized religion, like belonging to a Catholic church, Baptist Church, synagogue, any religion. This is about your own acceptance of God into your heart, body, mind & soul. A relationship that exceeds all earthly relationships. He is the One that has never let me down, hurt me, broke my heart or made me sick.
Humans have.

I’ve always known my greatest strength is also my biggest burden: my capacity to love. I am one who loves deeply, feels exactly what someone is feeling even if they live hundreds of miles away. I have a level of instant intuition that astounds me still, & I’ve learned to turn that into a gift by helping others. I use that gift in conjunction with my faith that no matter what, I act immediately when I feel something because I know I’m receiving a message. If I don’t listen to that message, I may miss an opportunity I’ll never get again. Life is too short to live in fear, to worry what “they” think about you, to not take that chance of opening your heart to let someone in. We are never guaranteed another day so it’s vital to not close yourself off from the world out of fear of being misunderstood, judged or hurt. We must first look within and love ourselves fully as God loves us before we’re truly able to serve others with love. The Bible says “do unto others as they would do unto you”; in other words, treat people the way you want to be treated. Why is that such a difficult concept to grasp?

I have Faith that is unshakable. I know with certainty every painful event in my life is a lesson learned. I am strong, so strong in my Faith & loving others. I’m also human. A woman who needs to feel loved, cared for as all of us do. I may be strong, but I also need to be hugged, held, comforted, appreciated. The tears wiped off my cheek..the hand held..the doorbell or telephone ringing. Love isn’t a one-way street. It’s sharing, caring, listening. It’s compromise, sacrifice at times. I’ve done all of that again & again, only to have my love rejected, taken for granted, expected to always be there & for a long time it was.

Not anymore. Not at the expense of me, my peace, my joy of being granted the gift of another day to live and walk in Love.
So my heart is hurting again right now & not solely from my current journey with Noah. It is what it is. That’s life…yet I won’t close my wounded heart. It’s wide open & always will be. I know of no other way to live because that is who I am. I will never give up no matter how much I’m hurting or what is hurting me. I’ve come too far, worked too hard to give up. I won’t.

Today I am Humpty Dumpty. And I’ll keep putting myself back together again as I always have..with Love, Hope and Faith. I’ll never stop loving. It’s who I am.

Peace
~Jennifer~

Emotions In Motion

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It’s a common “fact” in society: women are such emotional creatures! We aren’t doctors, lawyers, engineers, any job description because we live our lives by emotion enhanced by the dreaded force of the female anatomy called hormones. Everybody agrees, men & women alike: men joke & complain about their wives to each other that they dread going home because “it’s that time of the month”, nudge nudge, wink wink, as if they have any idea what that experience is actually like, month after month until the next phase of life called peri-menopause and menopause hits, or as in my case, a hysterectomy in my mid 30’s. There are different types of hysterectomies however, & I was fortunate to keep my ovaries.  Women even use their hormones as a reason for everything..as I said, it is a common “fact”, right”?

Wrong. All humans are emotional, both male & female. Society for a long time conditioned the male to the strong, silent, no tears permitted or the showing of emotion, whereas it’s expected that females cry at the drop of a hat or fly off the handle in a fit of rage. Thankfully, times have changed and parents like myself are teaching their children that feeling all of your emotions is not only normal, it’s healthy,  and showing those emotions, especially tears, is not only acceptable it should in fact be encouraged, especially when raising sons.

My son, Noah, cannot stand to see me cry for any reason. He knows me so well, if something on tv is sentimental, he immediately looks at me & groans, “Oh, there she goes again!” and I then start giggling as I wipe my eyes. He is my only child, my living miracle and we are making our way together through the end of my marriage to his father, a new school year, his official entry into the world of being a teenager, puberty & the many changes we’ve been through since his father moved out. It has not been easy, it’s been hell. Challenge after challenge, constant change instead of a familiar, reassuring schedule, fear, uncertainty, anger…and the shedding of many, many tears by us both.

My marriage had been over for years but actually taking the steps to officially break up your family is not something on the top of your To-Do list, especially when you are the one who has made the decision to end the marriage; you are the one lying wide awake all night, wondering how you’re going to get your child through this process intact, how you’re going to have to dig deeper within yourself for strength you never knew existed for the sake of your child. You are the one that tells your husband of 17 years, it’s time to end this. There are millions of reasons why so many marriages fail & for this post it’s not necessary to go down that road. Separation & divorce are very emotional events that don’t resolve themselves in a week; it is a journey and the journey is a roller-coaster of emotions.

I met my husband almost 21 years ago, both of us in our mid 20’s. I was the epitome of the traditional “emotional” female because I did not know myself well enough yet, had not matured enough yet, to understand that I could actually choose to NOT live by emotion. It is not an easy adaptation because as humans, there is an emotional action to every emotional reaction..we are all emotional creatures whether we want to admit it or not. It is scientifically proven that a newborn infant thrives from being held, a brand new human being totally dependent on its caregiver to provide the single emotion that binds us all..Love. When the newborn is deprived of love, they do not thrive. I find this to be true for all humans in my personal journey thus far of my life, from every person I’ve ever met. We are born to love, to touch, hug, give & receive affection, feel happiness, joy, sadness, anger, despair. We are wired to be emotional and when our emotional needs aren’t met, we start to slowly die from the inside out; it actually affects our physical health as well as our mental & spiritual health. Children not only need to be told they are loved, they need to feel they are loved by both physical affection of hugs & kisses to seeing their parents & family members express their love for one another in the same fashion. We are the examples of life, of love, of relationships to our children by what we show them in our daily living in our homes. Children are like sponges, soaking up every word, said & unsaid, every facial expression, body language, the atmosphere within the home. If our children do not witness a positive, healthy demonstrative environment of love, they will not know how to reach their full potential of giving & receiving love in their future relationships, whether in friendships or dating. The experiences of our childhood are the foundation in which all of our future actions are based, mostly subconsciously. It is imperative that what you present to the world is exactly what you live behind closed doors in your home.

It took me a long time to realize I did have a choice in how I wanted to really live my life. I wanted to stop living by emotion yet fully feel every emotion. I accomplished this by making a conscious choice to give myself a new “me”, and my faith as a Christian was & still is my saving grace to not have my entire life ruled by emotion. I can have a day where everything is going wrong: the alarm clock didn’t go off, car won’t start, forgot to put the garbage out..and instead of getting agitated and angry, I take a deep breath, look up to the sky, and let it go.There is not a single day that passes that I don’t laugh or smile at least one time no matter how I’m feeling; that’s just how I am. I can have a day where I am completely, entirely “emotional”, where out of the blue, a memory, a song, a smell, hits me like a freight train to the solar plexus, and I can do absolutely nothing BUT cry. It’s actually healing, cleansing to cry all of the toxic emotions you’ve been holding in for whatever reason.

I have achieved a level of inner peace, contentment & joy that I never thought possible; of pure happiness, hope, excitement every single day. It is truly an incredible way to live! Unfortunately, since I am human, and based on my life experiences & personality, feel things on a deeply personal level. Having this awareness of myself has brought great clarity in dealing with others, because how I feel listening to a particular song may not touch you on the same level; everyone is wired uniquely within themselves on how they feel, act & treat people. Feelings are very personal; nobody else can have your feelings for you & nobody else’s reasoning can make your feelings unreal for you. Feelings have a mind all their own; they can be pushed down or bottled up, but not turned off; at some point, those feeling will indeed emerge, and I’ve found that the best way to handle this is to strive to maintain my personal peace. If my peace begins to feel ragged, I know the choices I’m making are wrong & that I must take action immediately to rid my life of the person or situation that is stealing my peace. Feelings & emotions don’t come packaged in labeled boxes, they intertwine, shift, grow & recede, sometimes all at once.

These past few days I’ve run the gamut from experiencing complete & utter beauty that fully touched every inch of my soul, only to be replaced by sadness, loneliness, remembering the trauma & recovery of my own full stroke from my recent prayer request for my friends’ Dad, missing Noah, thinking about the upcoming holidays, our first where the time has to be divided, which I dread completely and although I did not WANT to cry, tried so hard NOT to cry, I HAD to cry. I made it through most of the weekend without crying & actually had a great weekend..there’s that faith & inner peace coming into play, that choice not to live by emotion. I was determined to fully enjoy my time this past weekend and I did…until Sunday night.

I couldn’t sleep because I was in both physical & emotional pain; remember, our minds & emotions are connected to our bodies and one affects the other & the effects of my recent hospitalization still haven’t completely healed. I was tired from a busy weekend, but once the lights are turned off for sleep, everything that I was holding in had me in turmoil the entire night. I couldn’t even write, that’s how upset I was, & I didn’t yet know what the next day had in store for me. I gave up on sleep, and went about my Monday as usual but I knew that if just one more thing occurred, if I started crying, I wouldn’t be able to stop..and that is exactly what happened.

I made it through the appointed meeting that was the final straw for me intact on the outside, wrecked on the inside. I got in my car & cried the entire way home. I walked around my house, cleaning, doing dishes, laundry, taking a shower, crying the entire time. I went to bed, said my prayers and cried some more. I was alone; I didn’t have to worry that Noah would see me crying this hard, and I used the opportunity to cry it all out. Finally, I slept. I have my peace back wholly intact. I feel a bit bruised, raw, vulnerable, yet I feel better. My faith never wavers because God has never, ever let me down and I know He never will. I may feel lonely at times but I am never truly alone because God is always with me as He is with all of you. The miracles, the blessings, the sheer beauty of events have been increasingly abundant every day that passes. This motivates me to continue living my truth. We all have Emotions in Motion..when you allow yourself to really feel them all, it’s actually a humbling reminder of how precious every second is in our lives. It is even better when you share them, and I thank you for letting me share mine with you.

Peace,
~Jennifer~