Growing Pains

What a roller coaster ride life can be. And I’m not happy about that. Today I started reading a book entitled: one simple act Discovering the Power of Generosity, by Debbie Macomber. I like the author. I think I have read everything she has ever written. “It’s bound to be good”, I said to myself. It is good, but not quite what I bargained for.

growing pains, Corrie Ten Boom, Debbie Macomber, fleas

The book began with a scripture…one that I am familiar with…one that I haven’t thought about lately. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Darn it! I wasn’t much in the mood to be thankful for the circumstances I find myself in of late.

Ms. Macomber goes on to say that she has been keeping a journal of thanks for some years now, and what a benefit that is. She also related a story about Corrie Ten Boom and her sister, Bessie. It seems that Bessie read that scripture while living in the concentration camp. She decided that she and Corrie should do exactly what the scripture said.

One day she thanked God for the flea infested barracks that she and Corrie were assigned to. Corrie took issue with being thankful for the fleas. But low and behold, as it turns out, the problematic fleas were the very reason why the guards never inspected their barracks, for if they would have they surely would have found and confiscated their Bible…their lifeline.

Debbie goes on to relate that she has discovered in her own life the vital link between gratitude and trust. I’m only on page 12!!! So onward I shall read, and hopefully instill an attitude of thankfulness along this unpleasant journey I now travel.

 

Don’t Tell Me I’m Strong

“Don’t tell me I’m strong”, I heard myself say as I sat and talked with a few people. “I’m not sure why but it really pisses me off”. This became a new topic of discussion as we delved a little deeper because others were identifying and agreeing that they weren’t that thrilled with hearing those words themselves.
strong, higher power, life, struggles

It sounds dismissive when I hear those words spoken to me during a difficult time in my life. Almost like I’m not human. I know the words are meant as a compliment when I am on the receiving end but somehow they just don’t seem that way to me.

The trials of life sometimes hit hard, and often. I do what I do and just keep going. I try to deal with the issues and the gamut of feelings that arise when each new situation presents itself. It’s hard as heck and I don’t feel strong. In fact, I feel very weak oftentimes, and just want to sleep for a very long period of time, like maybe a year or two. That’s why I have a higher power to help me through when I feel desperately alone.

Don’t tell me I’m strong, as if no one else could do what I am doing, or could go through what I am going through. It’s not true.

There are other words that rub me the wrong way. Do  you mind if I share them with you? Here they are: “I could never do what you are doing”, or “You are a saint”, or “I wish I was as able to handle my struggles like you”.

Don’t tell me I’m strong, for in doing so you sell yourself short, and make me something I’m not. If you haven’t been where I am then how do you know what you can handle and how you would deal?

I appreciate your attempts to provide support. I’m pretty sure that is your intent but maybe there’s a better way to convey the message?

“That must be tough” is one such phrase.

“Hang in, my friend”.

“You’re in my thoughts and prayers”.

“I’m a pretty good listener if you ever want to talk”.

“I don’t really know what you’re feeling, but I’m here if you need me”.

We can’t really know what someone else is feeling unless they tell us. And if we’ve never walked in their shoes than all we can do is be. Be there for them. Be there with them. Be what they need, when they need.

Don’t tell me I’m strong. Tell me instead that I’m human. Remind me to continue my journey one day at a time. Tell me you care. Tell me you’ll pray. Tell me I’m not alone.

Just don’t tell me I’m strong.

 

 

Will They Remember Homeschooling?

I was reading a post today on a homeschool blog called Gypsy Road. I don’t often do so since those days are over for me, but it brought back memories and made me think, will they remember homeschooling? Will my kids remember the fun times we had during our homeschool adventure?

Our homeschool journey began over eighteen years ago and came to an end last May when the youngest graduated. It’s hard to remember the early days but if I put my mind to it, especially after reading posts like the one I read today, then it all comes tumbling back into my realm of remembrance.

homeschooling, graduation, homeschool, kids, trips, educational trips, cottage school, homeschool drama, education, educating your child

Will my oldest two remember that we usually launched our homeschool years off with a fun educational day? Will they remember the year our first day of school was a canoe trip on Blue River in Indiana with Uncle Daryl and Aunt Leah while baby Luke stayed home with the grandfolks? I hope they do.

Will they remember the chilly trip to Bernheim Forest with hiking, a picnic and throwing a football around with Dad?

homeschooling, graduation, homeschool, kids, trips, educational trips, cottage school, homeschool drama, education, educating your child. football, Bernheim Forest, Blue River, canoeing

Will they remember the trips out west and the journals they kept of the many sights we saw? Will they cherish those journals as much as I treasure them in my heart? Do they remember the play dates and the attempts at getting them together with other homeschool families for “socialization” in the early days, the days before we found and joined a cottage school we loved?

homeschooling, graduation, homeschool, kids, trips, educational trips, cottage school, homeschool drama, education, educating your child. football, Bernheim Forest, Blue River, canoeing

Will our kids remember the trip to Disney World in 2001, and being evacuated from EPCOT on 9/11 due to the devastating events to our country that day?

Will they remember “The Four Heads” (Mt. Rushmore as Luke called it), and waiting to see Old Faithful, except two of the kids had to go to the bathroom and Dad took them and they actually missed it?

Will they remember the sleepovers and trips to museums with other homeschooling families? Will they remember how they each were able to take a friend when we visited a nearby place of interest?

I hope they do and so much more.

Will they remember the Lewis and Clark trail we followed from the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky which ended (for us) in Montana (I think)? Or the time we visited all the homesteads of the Ingalls family of The Little House series?

How about the staged gunfight in Jackson Hole? Or the vast depths of the earth as we gazed into the Grand Canyon?

Will they remember the “snow days” we had when we finished school early so they could go play in the wet, white stuff?

I know I do. I loved being a homeschool mom for the most part. Not the academics part exactly, but those precious hours and years I was able to be with my kids, watching them grow and learn.

Will they remember how amazed we were that they not only chose to participate but loved their years spent in Master’s Conservatory drama group; these kids of ours who were a wee bit shy who would deliver their lines so well? Do they know?

homeschooling, graduation, homeschool, kids, trips, educational trips, cottage school, homeschool drama, education, educating your child. football, Bernheim Forest, Blue River, canoeing

I guess my mind usually goes to the not-so-good times we had during our years of homeschooling, and the trying times we experienced as a family. I know they remember those, but I hope not to the point that it overshadows the many good times we had while we learned and discovered together.

There are many things I would change about those times I must admit, but after this time of reflection I know there are many good things they have to hold on to as well, if they only remember…

 

Christmas is Coming

Christmas is coming soon. Is this good news for you or does simply reading those four words send you into the mother of all panic attacks? For me it can go either way. Sometimes it can go either way simultaneously.

Christmas, the holidays, dreading the holidays, help with Christmas

This year I am not looking forward to the holidays…like AT ALL. 

Christmas is coming. Bah, humbug, I say!

I get the reason for the season. I like the reason for the season. I also enjoy certain aspects of Christmas. It’s just one of those years, well, truthfully for me it is a year like no other year I’ve ever experienced.

M friend Mary just put an interesting post on her site about Christmas and I want to share it here: True You Living. This is the beginning of her post: While the rest of the world thinks Christmas is full of Sugar Plum fairies, sparkly party dresses, and Norman Rockwell style, family dinners, some people don’t see it that way. Maybe you know what I mean. Maybe you’ve been hit with some tough stuff. Your memories of the holidays bring up more hurt than happiness. Your seasonal social life is full of overwhelming expectations. And, your family interaction time makes you wish it was any other day of the year. It stings and you don’t want it that way. Click on the link above to read the rest of the story.

Before you go, leave a comment and let me know your feelings on Christmas. Are you looking forward to it this year?

We Need Each Other

We need each other to survive in this world. We just do. Like it or not (and a lot of times I don’t), I have to acknowledge that I need someone to help me through.

needing others, 12 step groups, self-help, life gets tough, higher power, God

I have had people tell me on more than one occasion how strong I am. Not just me, however. I’ve heard it said about others as well. The fact of the matter is none of us are really strong enough to go it alone. I’m not. You’re not. We need each other. We were designed that way.

That’s where the whole concept of higher power came from in 12 Step Programs. When we can’t, when the situation is just too big and overpowering for us, we have a higher power to help us overcome, and we have each other, one step at a time.

My higher power is God, the creator of the universe. When I am weak, He is strong. That brings me all kinds of comfort and the ability to do the next right thing, take the next step, do whatever it is that is required of me no matter how simple or mundane.

Which leads me back to we need each other.

God shows up for me in a group setting oftentimes, while exchanging stories, feelings and thoughts with other people who have been where I am. It may sound strange to those of you who have never experienced this type of setting before but it helps to know that there is a real live human being who gets how you feel and who lives where you live and who has survived and came out better having had the experience.

It can be awkward at first but that only lasts briefly as sharing happens. Does this mean I like the groups I attend? Not always. It also doesn’t mean I will be here forever, but it’s good to know there are other people there when you need them.

It is also good to know that there are groups for just about every situation. No, really! Grief groups, cancer groups, marriage groups, addiction groups, parenting groups and so many more. They’re designed to be there when you need them, and to keep going back when you’re past the point of needing them if you choose to do so.

There is no shame in needing and accepting help. I’m not sure why we have made it so. It takes courage and wisdom to come to the point of recognizing we need each other and then doing something about it.

Have you had any group experiences? Did you enjoy it, hate it, or get anything out of it?

Free Books on Amazon!

I love books, especially when they are free books on amazon! These books that I found are free Kindle books. I have a Nook so that leaves me out, right? WRONG!

That’s what I love about Amazon. You can download a free app. WHAT? Yes, that is correct and I did. I downloaded a Kindle app to my computer and I was able to take advantage of these free books even if I don’t have a Kindle.

I want to share them with you, but hurry, I don’t know how long they will be available!

If you have ever thought about starting a blog of your very own, then these FREE books would be good reading as you do so. These are my affiliate links.
   

      
I can’t wait to start reading mine and I hope you get your free Amazon books too!

 

 

Beyond My Blue Door

Beyond my blue door became the name of my blog about a year and a half ago. This name has significance and meaning beyond what I can explain in a few simple words. Inside my blue door is where life took place with my family for 13 years. And then it stopped. Not life itself, but life as we knew it. And then the journey began.

Beyond my blue door, life is difficult, life is hard, stay with the pain, grow with the pain, live truly, engage in life, be present

That’s not exactly true. The journey actually began more than a half of a century ago. Remarkably or perhaps regrettably is a better word, it just doesn’t stop due to circumstances within or beyond our control, whether we like it or not. It just seems like the lessons I learn, the most impacting things in my life, those things that leave a lasting impression, are those I neither wish for or ask for. I’m sure this is the case with so many others.

I find myself in a new place of learning these days, yet not so new after all, for they are lessons I’ve learned before, but have, perhaps, forgotten. Or maybe better defined is that I didn’t learn them to the extent I needed to, nor did I allow them to impact me in the way in which they needed to most.

To wish for that time back is a futile and useless exercise.

Life is a learning curve…all of it. It. Just. Is.

More so for some than others, but all of us will one day, sooner or later, have the opportunity and profound privilege of encountering these lessons that we know not of. The degree varies, the timing has a power all it’s own, but it is a given.

I once heard that God is never early. He is never late. He is exactly on time. Every time, even if I’m not prepared.

That is why this time I am paying full and close attention for I sincerely intend to engage in this period in my life, as intensely painful as it can be, to embrace it even, and grow within the circumstances, fully alert, fully aware and fully prepared to face the lessons presented.

Do I want to? Nah, not so much. But then again, yes, I do. Is it pleasant? Nope, not in the least. Is it necessary? Absolutely. Because I am not a quitter. I am not defeated. I am not hopeless. I am not alone. I will not pretend. I will not deny. I will not simply float along the sea of life in an aimless sort of way.

Instead:

I choose to live.

I choose to choose.

I choose to heal.

I choose to follow.

I choose to dream.

I choose to feel.

I choose to be present.

I choose to love.

I choose to forgive.

I choose to embrace this time.

Beyond my blue door.

Tale of Two Cars

This is the tale of two cars, or maybe three. I’m not sure which yet but let me just make this announcement: we are now a family of 5 automobiles.

It was about four years ago when I wrote Good-bye CR-V, Hello Camry. That was a difficult period in my family’s life. I do chuckle a bit when I read that post. It’s about a car! But then again, it wasn’t. It was about grief and all that was going on.

Monday we purchased a 2008 CR-V, just like the one I drove before, except for the color.

Honda CR-V, Accord, cars, Good-bye CR-V Hello Camry, saying good-bye, grief, grieving

This was a good move money-wise. It saves me a lot of money every month which makes me very happy. I never intended to purchase the exact same vehicle. It just happened. It was a good deal. All is good. But wait…what I didn’t expect was the wee bit of sadness in saying good-bye to the Accord.

Honda CR-V, Accord, cars, Good-bye CR-V Hello Camry, saying good-bye, grief, grieving

I snapped this pic as we were getting in the CR-V, leaving the lot. Who knew I would feel a twinge of sadness? Guess I should have known.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my husband had just purchase an old car to get him back and forth to work. He got a Toyota Corolla. He finished the deal today.

Toyota, Corolla, Honda CR-V, Accord, cars, Good-bye CR-V Hello Camry, saying good-bye, grief, grieving

And now we are a five car family.

Stone Mountain Georgia

I attended Bloggy Boot Camp in Atlanta over the weekend. The time we had to spend in Atlanta outside of the conference wasn’t much, however, since I love to see new sights we squeezed in a little time to visit Stone Mountain Georgia.

We have visited Stone Mountain before but that was many moons ago, before kids. We were just passing through on our way home from a vacation in Florida all those years ago and stopped for the night. We decided to go to Stone Mountain to see the Laser show. It was quite a sight to see.

Georgia, Stone Mountain, laser show, covered bridge, parks

There really wasn’t a good view of the mountain from our drive around the park but taking a ride on the sky tram thing would have been awesome had we had the time to stand in the very long line. I guess we’ll have to make a return visit!

Stone Mountian, Georgia, attractions, parks in Georgia

Photo credit: Stone Mountain website

We did enjoy the beautiful fall day while exploring around the lake.

Stone Mountian, Georgia, attractions, parks in Georgia

We were looking for a place to eat lakeside but as luck would have it the restaurant was closed for a private party. So we explored and ate later after we left the park. Being outside and enjoying the lovely weather was the goal for the remainder of the day.

We discovered the covered bridge on the water. I do enjoy covered bridges. This one was extra picturesque.

covered bridge, Stone Mountian, Georgia, attractions, parks in Georgia

Wishing I was there right now, in fact.

Covered bridge, Stone Mountian, Georgia, attractions, parks in Georgia

We were able to walk across the bridge which was something I don’t do every day. It was noted on a nearby sign that the bridge had been moved from another town in Georgia years ago. This bridge was a refuge for travelers and courting couples until thieves started hiding in the rafters above and pouncing on the unsuspecting walkers-by and doing their deeds of thievery. I guess some things never change. I always like to think that things were better in the olden days, simpler and more peaceful. There has always been evil in the world and I guess there always will be.

It was a very delightful few hours we spent in Stone Mountain Park in Georgia. I wish we would have had more time to spend and explore. Perhaps sometime soon.

Bloggy Boot Camp Atlanta

I just returned home from Bloggy Boot Camp in Atlanta hosted by The SITS Girls. It was, as usual, an informative and fun time. I met some new and interesting people.

She has a great blog. You should read it. No, really!

blogging, bloggy boot camp, SITS Girls, blogging conferences, From Tracie, Beyond My Blue Door

however, she was standing in for Francesca who couldn’t make this conference due to unforeseen family obligations. I love Fran. She is one of the reasons I enjoy Bloggy Boot Camp so much. Getting to talk with her face to face is always worth the trip.

Tiffany Romero, blogging, bloggy boot camp, SITS Girls, blogging conferences, From Tracie, Beyond My Blue Door

I am, as usual, overwhelmed with all that I learned. To take the information and implement it is always the challenge. I get that I can’t do it all, not all at one time anyway. I just need to do what I do and make it work on my space in the blogosphere and with my plan.

The speakers were great. I am excited about all the social media tips to implement. Kayla Aaimee had some great information about affiliate links, something that I have known about since way before I started blogging. I will definitely be following her blog to see what else I can learn.

The speakers, the schedule, and all the fellow bloggers you meet at a blogging conference makes it an amazing experience.

. I found her blogging story simply fascinating. I value this meeting and plan to stay in touch with her. Her blog is another blog I will surely add to my list of must-reads.

Discovering Franklin, Tiffany Romero, blogging, bloggy boot camp, SITS Girls, blogging conferences, From Tracie, Beyond My Blue Door

I haven’t had the chance to really go over my notes. That is something I will do over the next couple of days and again and again. Blogging conferences are helpful on may levels and The SITS Girls is my favorite conference hands down.

Are you a blogger? Do you go to conferences? What is your favorite blogging conference?