Another One

Another school shooting…seventeen dead. Three faculty and 14 students. I see the posts talking about these kids and these staff members and I cannot seem to process the reality without making it about me.

Before this latest incident in Florida, there are many times I’ve stood in my school cafeteria (where I work) and wondered just how chaotic it would be in the event of an active threat.

During lunch I have 200 kids at a time in the cafeteria…I know I cannot save them all.

Our drills are always at mundane times (during class periods when everybody is where they are supposed to be.

What if it happens when I have a full cafeteria? Some kids eating, some still getting food, others already finished and dumping their trays, and yet others already gone to the gym. Then what?

My son now goes to my school…

Would I instinctively run to save him first? What if it’s not his lunch period? Would I be able save the kids I have come to know and love? What if I don’t know where my son is in the school at that time?

Thankfully I am confident that every staff member he would encounter would do their best to save him as I would try to save his friends.

My heart hurts for those seventeen families who have now made funeral arrangements for track stars, band geeks, math wizards, fathers, husbands, class clowns, and quiet ones.

Every time I see another story about Assistant Football Coach Aaron Feis, I find myself nodding my head…yep, I would have too. I would shield as many students as possible…or I’d like to think so anyway.

I guess the one bit of comfort I have in all of this is that I have built such solid relationships with so many students, I am hopeful that if an incident were to happen in ‘my cafeteria’ that many of them would instinctively run for my protection, and follow directions as they trust me. I dunno, maybe I think to highly of myself…they are still children…they may very well scatter like practice pucks do when they are dropped on the ice.

Father,

I come to You pleading for grace as I muddle through the emotional consequences of this latest tragedy. Help me to remember that being prepared helps alleviate fear when tragedy strikes.
Give me the tools and the relationships to know what to do and when to do it. Not only in the case of an active threat but also in the many cases of seemingly inactive threats to our students; the depression, the bullying, the cutting, the anger, the silent screams.
Give my children staff members they can run to for all their needs when I cannot be there.
Grant peace and comfort to those grieving their loss.

As my boys are both not feeling physically well, help me to meet their every need medically, emotionally, and spiritually. Give them rest to overcome these illnesses.

Amen

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When Will I Learn

So an ex-boyfriend reentered my life just before Christmas. Nothing serious, just wanted to get together to catch up. No problem, right?

Expect the more time I spent talking and texting with him the more I found myself being drawn towards him again. Of course I was…he knows me. His manipulations are perfectly timed and well played.

Even when my brain is SCREAMING at me RUN RUN RUN…and don’t stop running. My heart was lolly-gagging back to his texts, his lies, his empty promises.

Until I was brave enough last night to put him to the test.

He failed…miserably. And I knew he would. I never for one minute thought he would pass the test last night.

So why am I so upset today? Why is my heart and my brain and my body aching?

I didn’t even know I was lonely until he came along. Ya, I had times when I would have liked for somebody to pop into our lives and stay…but I wasn’t settling for second best or anything less than a Godly man.

Why?

Why do I not trust God enough to just stay away? Maybe because I thought it was possible that God had changed his heart…I was doubtful, yet I still gave him the benefit of doubt. Who am I to question why God lets somebody enter back into my life when I pray about them and for them?

God got me through cancer in one piece…is it not possible that He could also change this man?

Except there were no signs of change, right from the first week we started talking. My heart would just not let it go.

So today I am working on NOT wallowing in self pity. I did this to myself. If I had focused on God and NOT on myself; this wouldn’t be happening. So now I have to figure out why I let this happen…and how to protect myself against it next time.

The worst part is, I KNEW. I set it up last night FOR him to pass…I was his to lose. That’s all it would have taken to have me back…show up, tell the truth.

He didn’t show up, AND he lied. Like he dug his own grave…so why am I having such a difficult time pushing the motherfucker into it?

Everybody’s advice? “take care of yourself right now”

Well, except I’m still upset I can’t go to the hockey tournament this weekend…and they leave tomorrow. I’ve booked a bunch of sub work hours…but that doesn’t get me to the hockey tournament or help me forget that they are all there and I am not.

Time for this pity party to be over.

Lord,

The lessons I force myself to learn over and over again are ridiculous when You are the one who holds all the promise. Give me the strength to be vulnerable. To be real. Give me the heart of a woman with confidence and resolve.
As I watch my children get hurt from their relationships, help me to remember that You see in me so much more than I even see in them…and we both know what I see in them.
Thank You Father for being the One constant I can count on. For being everything I need.
Forgive me for trying to do things my way.

Amen

Head Games

*Language Warning*

So tonight a woman in a breast cancer facebook group I belong to asked about blurry eyes on a certain medication…well who knew it would lead to this latest #CancerEpiphany

I started wearing contacts about six years ago. I loved finally being free of the glasses that had shadowed my face since I was ten years old. It was a new life!

Near the end of chemo, I found my contacts to be more and more bothersome. It got to the point where I could not even keep them in for more than a couple hours. I asked my eye doctor about it and he explained that dry eyes are common after chemo and that although not reversible, there are medications that can help.

My last eye exam was August 2015.

After hearing what that doctor said, I never bothered even going for a check up. Why? To get put on yet another medication? To be told that cancer has taken a toll on a completely unrelated organ? To find out I have irreversible damage because I fought like hell to save my life?

The only thing is; I never realized I felt that way until tonight when I was discussing this side effect with my online friend.

…I haven’t gone to the eye doctor since the summer I had radiation (2015). After chemo I had a hell of a time wearing contacts and talked to an eye doctor who is a parent of one of the kids I used to coach and he said dry eye is common after chemo and meds can sometimes help, but it’s not reversible.
I just realized (while writing this response) that I feel betrayed by my eyes…my body…this is all such a mindfuck and I’m tired of it.

Once again my body has proven just how fickle it can be. How did this even happen? Where did the message get messed up? At what point were my cells smacked out of line? Why wasn’t my immune system strong enough to fight it off? Why did it grow so big? Why did I do such aggressive treatment if it was going to leave me so broken in other ways?

I know, I know…it’s not that bad.

I beat cancer. I kicked the hell out of stage III breast cancer. I OWNED IT.

So why does it still own me?

Why was I so angry yesterday because the local Junior A hockey team was having a Cancer Awareness night? Here’s the conversation I had with my friend:

Me: I’m just fucking mad tonight…that hasn’t happened in a long time when I think about cancer…tonight I hate everything it took from me.

Her: There’s a lot it took from you, so if you need to be mad about it, be mad.

M: Oh trust me, I’m mad

Her: I believe you.
Anything specific trigger that or is it just where you are tonight?

M: I think just so much hockey…and how much hockey was involved in my fight and how much cancer is the focus of hockey tonight.
Hockey was my safe place.
I’m praying to make this about hockey support and not cancer.

And then my baby boy saved the day…he scored his first goal of the season last night. His team won their game 15-4. He started the season as a defenseman and has recently been moved to wing. Yesterday, he played wing, defense, and then (for the final period) in net. What a talented little man he is. Now if only I can get him to open hockey so he can pick up some speed…LOL

So that’s my #LifeAfterCancer story for tonight.

Tomorrow I’ll call and make an appointment with my eye doctor…I promise.

Vehicle Update

Yay me…granted another opportunity to allow God to show up and show off.

To replace the blower motor (remember, a $70 part) is over six hours of labor! SIX HOURS. To replace the blower motor the entire dash needs to be pulled off. Who thinks this crap up? What engineer sat there thinking, ya…I think a great place to put a part that is likely to need replacement when the vehicle is worth next to nothing is in a place that is going to cost more than the vehicle is worth.

Ya, apparently the design engineer was not a single mom.

So, when I’m on the highway the air flows enough to keep the windows clear. In town I’m not so lucky. Thankfully most of my trips are quit.

In the mornings, I’m blessed to have a garage that keeps the window from fogging overnight…or I’d be considerably more screwed.

So, I’m gonna pray. I’m going to ask you to pray. Either for a miracle cure for my current blower motor or a viable vehicle option to come my way.

Lord,

My trust in You has stands firm. I am so very excited to see how You show up this time.

Father, I ask for your loving hand to reach the family I am serving through volunteering at the elementary school. May they see Your love and comfort through this transitional period they are facing. Give me the guidance to be of assistance to this child. Fill him with a love and comfort only You can.

Bless this family as we have been blessed.

Amen

 

Dangerous Whispers

I’ve been pretty transparent about my financial situation and all that entails. I’ve shared our struggles, our triumphs, our goals, and our dreams. As I work on getting on track with our new budget, the enemy continues to whisper how terrible I am as a Christian, a woman, a child, a sibling, and a mother.

It’s that last one that it takes less than a whisper to take me out at the knees and I’d like to share how that manifests in my world right now.

I’ve been working super hard at balancing our budget and building our baby emergency fund of $500. I’m on track to have that complete ahead of schedule. We have scrimped, saved, sacrificed, and prayed.

Then the blower motor on my vehicle decides to finally quit. It’s been thinking about quitting for over a year…and I’ve been hoping it would last just long enough to get through the winter. Not having heat or a defrost function in northern Minnesota through the winter when you are carting your children everywhere is just not an option.

My vehicle has over 235,000 miles on it. My brain tells me that putting a $70 blower motor into a vehicle that may not last another six months is throwing good money after bad. My brain tells me I need to be saving for our next vehicle, not kicking a dead horse.

  • What kind of mother drives her kids around with the only heat in a vehicle being from whatever air is moved by driving.
  • What kind of person can’t afford $70 but can afford to have her kids in hockey and bowling and archery?
  • What kind of mom would miss her son’s first away tournament because she doesn’t have a reliable vehicle or the funds to make the trip?
  • If I wouldn’t have taken the trip to Minneapolis for Christmas, this wouldn’t be happening right now…I didn’t deserve that trip.

Those are the whispers surrounding JUST the $70 blower motor. Satan is an evil dangerous son of a bitch. He will take the smallest amount of normal mom-guilt and exploit it beyond all reason.

Sunday night was a difficult night in our home. One of the boys did something I probably did a thousand times as a kid; he ate some leftovers that I had plans for.

I lost my shit.

He stopped me, mid rant, and with tears streaming down his face said, “Mom, I want you to calm down. Remember when we were in the cities and you said that you hate to be upset because you look weak? Look at me, I’m upset and I’m showing it and I’m not weak.”

My son is no longer a child.

Everything he has been through, everything he knows about his Mama…he’s become a young man.

I told him I feel like a horrible mom when I can’t provide them everything I feel like they deserve. That I hate everything they have endured (divorce, cancer, poverty) and it kills me that they have to live in this cycle of poverty when they deserve everything in God’s Kingdom for how amazing and faithful they have been through it all.

~~~~

All those dangerous whispers from the enemy in my head…yet I can still know that all of this has got us to the point where my son gets it. My kid understands emotions and negotiation and love.

My kids get it…not in spite of where we are…they understand life BECAUSE of where we are. How can I even hate where we are when I see how it has manifested in the emotional growth and maturity of my boys?

I have one who sees through hurt, another who challenges every perceived fact.

These struggles are in my brain…and I need to drown out those whispers.

The type of mom who does those things whispers above…is a mom who is trying. Over and over again. A mom who never gives up, even for one minute. A mom who has been through more in six years than some moms go through in their children’s entire youth.

That mom shows a resiliency and faith that is rarely seen publicly in today’s society. She shows a transparency that brings people around her to hold her up when she’s taken out at the knees.

She shows a strength that moms who’ve never struggled are in awe over. Her drive are what draws people to God. Her faithful trust in the Lord are beyond understanding and inspiring to those with struggles they feel are insurmountable.

~~~

I need to remember that mom, that woman…IS ME. I’m the resilient one, the faithful one, the leader, the driven.

I have been given these blessings to raise men. Every struggle has been a blessing.

Lord,

These late night silent times when I can’t sleep are a welcome challenge. Being able to see both sides of the coin is a gift more priceless than imaginable.
These challenges laid in front of me, I bring to You. I come to You as I want my children to come to me. If I, as a broken human in a sinful world, wish for my children to come to my embrace; how much more do You long for me to find comfort in Your arms…that’s where You blow my mind every day Father.
I am grateful for the opportunity to raise these boys through this adversity with a faith not commonly seen publicly in today’s world.
Give me rest and give me strength to continue to be raw and real to bring Your light into my home, my work place, my social circle, my everyday life.
Continue to grant me these silent nights to hear Your love over the whispers of the enemy that drown out my daylight hours.

Amen

Rolling Along

Today was a tough one.

After skating this morning we were just talking and I said, “All I can do is miss him; I miss my cousin.”

The gift of this raw friendship and the ability to feel all the feels anytime and anywhere has been such a gift.

Jes has been on my heart all day though and it’s been a difficult one. How does time just keep marching on…why does it?

Because God has a plan. His plan is good.

Lord,

I am thankful for the end of the day, Your track record for getting me through these tough days is 100%. As I head to sleep with a hurting heart, help my body to rest and relax. May tomorrow start anew with a fresh outlook, a smile, and a plan.

Amen

I really miss my mom tonight.

Supper and Then Some

So I went to Grand Forks to have supper with a guy. He’s an ex-boyfriend who claimed his only motive was to just catch up. As I said before, I agreed because I am lonely, because he is comfortable, because he knows me.

Chinese for supper turned into watching most of two football games, then a movie at his place. You know you’re comfortable when you can fall asleep in a place you haven’t been for two years.

We started one of the Batman movies…I have no idea which one it was. He startled me awake a couple of times by making a comment. I woke up on the couch with a blanket over me and I could hear him in the shower getting ready for work.

I went back to sleep and when I woke up there was a note for me by the coffee pot. Oh, he knows me.

That night, after hockey practice I was home alone and it was overwhelming how domestic it is spending time with him. I had tried to explain it to my friend; but I’m not sure it’s explainable.

When I got there, it was almost as if no time had elapsed. There were no awkward silences, we spent the meal catching up (mostly him being caught up on the kids and my granddaughter).

We’ve texted since then and although we talk about spending time together, my brain knows it’s probably not the best choice.

Thankfully, it’s hockey season so time is on my side. It’s not exactly easy to coordinate schedules. Why can’t hockey last 12 months?