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Jordy the Star

My 10-year old nephew, Jordy, is simply one of the best people I know. Aside from the fact that he’s my nephew and I’d love him if he were a lump, he is curious, insightful, optimistic, and hilarious.  He loves to play card games, soccer and make up songs. He is quick to laugh, eager to participate and never says no to sweets. To quote him directly, “I am here to bring joy.” That he does

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Storm has passed

I am coming up upon my two year anniversary in Ohio. As always the time has flown and yet it seems like its been decades.

What a couple of year’s it has been. Full of trials, tribulations, craziness, and chaos. It’s also been full of laughter,  friends, love, and spending copious amounts of glorious time with my nephews making memories that last a lifetime.

I do not regret my time here. I have met amazing people that will be in my life, in some capacity, forever. I have also come face to face with a few of my worst nightmares, things I never thought I could survive, and I did.

When I moved here, I didn’t really understand why. I knew I wanted to be closer to my nephews. I also knew deep in my gut this was the right decision. And it was. God had things to show me about my family and myself. I didn’t pass all the tests that he had for me, I found new spots in my heart that needed to be softened and molded. In the end, though, I know better who I am and what I’m not.

I also got the chance to help support my Aunt through breast cancer. I got the opportunity to help my brother finish college, finally. I got to watch my nephews as my sister-in-law went back to work. I got to spend time with my grandmother. I got to do many things I couldn’t from CA.

When God gave me the verse two years ago that he wanted to give me immeasurably more than all I could ask for, I thought it would look really different. I was imagining the man of my dreams, a great job, you know the usual wishes. Instead he brought truth and light to the darkest places of our family. He came to bring healing and redemption, if we wanted it. These past two years have been ones of incredible growth in every capacity.  I am free from many things that tethered me to my past.

God freed me to move forward. In his infinite wisdom he gave me what I needed, not what I asked for.  Just as I knew when it was time to come here I have accepted that its time to leave. I need to move on with my life and it is not here in Ohio.

For now my plan is to move back to CA. I don’t expect things to be the same, but I am going back to the family I chose for myself. The friends that have been so incredibly supportive. I’m going back to the pace of life where I can thrive. The vitamin D I need to live.

I feel good about the decision. I feel good about making a decision. I’m going to move forward with this, staying open to new possibilities and new places.

I think the decision to leave is the most important one.

Happy 35th Birthday to Me

What a wonderful day it was, full of my favorite things.

I slept in late. Then mom and I went to tea at First Ladies Tea Room in downtown Canton. We even wore hats and of course took lots of pictures. The tea was fantastic, I had Earl Grey de la Creme and Mom had Cinnamon Orange Spice.

Then thanks to my dear friend Erika and her fabulous present of relaxation and pampering I spent the afternoon at the Amadeus Spa. I was treated to a facial and make-up lesson. The facial was one hour of bliss. My skin feels radiant. Then the make-up was just girly fun. I learned new tricks for lip stain and that my eye lids are oily. Who knew?

Then tonight I had dinner with Mike, Rocio and the boys. We went to Quaker Steak & Lube for my favorite, chicken wings. We laughed, we ate, I got a glorious new red purse.

It was an unexpectedly wonderful day. I didn’t have high hopes or expectations of the day, but it was good. I got lots of love on Facebook from friends near and far.

Turns out turning 35 wasn’t so painful afterall.

The Power of Story

Who doesn’t love a good story? The love, the fight, the drama, the comedy. It’s why we go to the movies. It’s why we read book. It is what transports us to another time and place. We are inspired, horrified, scared, captivated and engaged.

All the while we are writing our own story, full of the same emotions, plot points and events. Yet there are so many elements of our lives we keep hidden. We’re afraid we’re the only ones. We’re worried about being judged. We’re ashamed of what happened to us or what we’ve done.

Yet my old pastor always said, “We’re only as sick as our secrets.” It makes a world of difference as soon as we begin to give voice to what is happening to us, what we’ve been through and how we are feeling. It empties out brain space. It frees up our heart to move on, so we don’t get stuck in the mire of our circumstance.

This is in part why I chose to blog. Some write stories. Some sing songs. Others write poetry, paint or play an instrument. Anything is better than being silent. Anything is better that being alone. Anything is better than quiet surrender. We have to fight for ourselves. We have to shout, in a way that is healthy, so we can be set free.

My friend Jenn is choosing to give voice to her story of breast cancer. At 34 she is facing a stage three diagnosis, a mastectomy, chemo, losing her hair and fighting for her life all within about a week. To reach out for support and keep those who love her updated on her progress she is blogging through it. I am amazed at her strength, resilience, faith and the joy in her journey so far. I know there isn’t much I can do but pray and her blog helps me do that more specifically.

We are also part of a bigger story that God is telling through us. All of our stories overlap and interact with others. We are not alone. We are part of a huge family. In that there is comfort, encouragement and faith. In the midst of pain it is easy to burrow inward. It is easy to become destructive or self-sabotage. But having the courage to speak out means that we can be held accountable, someone can give reason to our voices of insanity. Or in some cases someone to just give us a hug and tell us to hang on.

I think my friend Erika is right in that we are all a beacon of hope for someone who isn’t as far in their story as we are. We get to lead the way for someone, if we let ourselves speak of what God has done, how he has provided, how he has healed, how he has disciplined and even through how we suffered.

It’s easy for me to forget these things. I want to shut down. I want to block out. I have done that a bit over the last few months. The pain of my parent’s divorce was just too fresh. The death of our family unit was overwhelming. I was fighting out of wallowing in it. I was trying to help my parents. I was trying to be there for my brother. I didn’t know how to be there for myself. I just slipped into survival mode.

I am so grateful for those friends that have kept me sane. I am so blessed with their love, joy, distractions, prayers, encouragement and support. They have made this time of pain tolerable. There have been moments when I didn’t want to talk to God. I was angry at him, yet I knew that I was getting his voice through them. They kept speaking truth. They kept speaking love.

As I come out of the shock and denial of what is happening I can finally begin to give voice to everything. I am starting to process out what it all means to me. I learning how to have a different kind of relationship with my parents and my brother.

It’s all a process.

Lessons Learned from Tori Spelling

Preamble – First of all I have to say that I am addicted to Tori & Dean Home Sweet Hollywood. I have watched since season one and will watch til the last episode. I think she’s fascinating. Maybe its the poor little rich girl thing, but Tori’s so real about who she is. She isn’t ashamed of her flaws. She embraces who she is. I love it.

Now onto the real blog post.

Last week was the season finale of Tori& Dean Home Sweet Hollywood, with Stella’s one-year birthday party. The big question was, will Candy, Tori’s mom show up? You knew she wasn’t. She said it was because of the cameras and she didn’t want to be on the tv show. I think that’s crap. If you want to be in your daughter’s life, for real, you do whatever it takes. There are no strings. There are no conditions. There is no question. You show up. You’re there, regardless.

So, when she didn’t show up Tori was devastated, again. She was crying. Dean was frustrated. But in the end, during one of the last interviews of the season Tori finally got it. She finally had a way to deal with her mother and it started with her. She realized that she had to stop being a victim. She was in a position to be hurt because she put herself there. She had unrealistic expectations. It was time to own it and deal with it privately. No one could stop the cycle but her. She had to stand up for herself and her family.

OOoohhhh! That’s it. A light went off for me. This so related to my life. I have to stand up and take responsibility for my life. I can’t keep waiting here in Ohio for my family to be a family. I”m here because I made the choice to come. I have to step up and take my life back. They are who they are. They are going to keep trucking down their road and I need to get on mine.  Now to figure out how and what and where.

Another benefit is that by owning my actions and emotions it helps avoid anger, bitterness and resentment. It doesn’t mean I’m not hurt, but it makes me step back and analyze where I put myself in an unhealthy situation. I have to draw better boundaries. I have to be true to me. I have to stand up for me. UGH! All of that is much harder than I thought. I still want them to love me so I hesitate everytime I need to say something. Baby steps. See because love is conditional you don’t have the freedom to say no, it comes with great consequences. So, learning to stand up for yourself and say, in the immortal words of Baby in Dirty Dancing, “this is my dance space and that is your dance space.”

Now, for some this is a no brainer. But when you grow up in a dysfunctional family where love is conditional and often manipulative it’s not so cut and dried. You have to learn on your own, with therapy and through the friends that become like family, how to be a functional, healthy adult. These things do not come naturally. We have to be told not to give until you’re depleted. We have to learn that co-dependence does not mean they love you. It takes time to figure out that even though we change and work through our junk, they may continue in the same crap that you drug yourself out of, it’s called denial.

So thank you Tori Spelling for sharing your ephiphany with us and allowing me one of my own. See God will use any means necessary to speak into our lives, even through Tori Spelling.