Insomnia 

Mother’s Day this last weekend has left me feeling some feelings.  
Heavy feelings.  
Deep thoughts.  
If you’re not in the mood for some ponderous musings and reflection, move along. Im sorry to be the one to tell you this, but I’m not ALWAYS the, 100% gym rat/beast mode babe, slaying workouts and personal goals, striving for justice and equality amongst all the fitness levels and body types across the land, urging women of all ages to love themselves and promote genuine confidence all day long, chick.  
At times I have been known to be a very sensitive, and poetic Sally…and sometimes I must emote. So, turn on your Mumford and Sons Spotify station and enjoy this ride.  

There’s been LOTS going on for us, which is true for everyone it seems.  Adjusting to life as a full time working mom has been fun and thrilling, but also a huge adjustment for all of us. 
 And on Mothers Day, I found myself thinking about how rapidly my kids are growing, and how I’m running out of time to get it right for them. Knowing a thing and doing a thing are drastically different, and there’s always so much to DO.  I made the mistake of looking at their baby pictures and it sliced me open with nowhere to hide but here, in my words and sentences that always seem to somehow bring healing. 

Tonight, I find myself alone in my house with a soundly sleeping hubby, kids, and lazy dog. The washing machine is working away on dirty towels. No tv or music. Just an open window in my bedroom as I stare into the glow of my phone and type to clear my busy mind.  

This is one of my favorite times of year…when I can crack a window open at night and hear the sound of all the frogs by the little pond, way out beyond the houses in my neighborhood. I look forward to hearing them, as a reminder that warmer weather is on its way here again.  
I feel peaceful now, and weirdly emotional because I know that I haven’t sat down alone to write in so long, that I’m actually afraid of what might come through.  I had a friend at the gym ask me why I haven’t done a blog post in awhile, and I had to really think about it?  My life is FULL, and I have no complaints, but sometimes little crap builds up and makes your heart heavy. And when the mood strikes me to write it out, I’ve learned to surrender to it because telling the truth always sets you free.  

So here it is.  

I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately.  
How your whole life is just traveling from the most current cluster of people in a moment in time to the next.  

Family, friends and acquaintances. Weaving in and out, overlapping. Mingling and vanishing. Reunited, reminiscing, disappearing. Sometimes reappearing…sometimes forgotten completely. People leaving impressions, memories and scars. Influencing and cautioning. Defending and betraying. Trust and disbelief. Loving and hating. Leaving and staying. Messy. Complicated. Devastated. Loyal. Devoted. Powerful.  

Relationships are everything.  

Lately, I have seen close friendships all around me, whom were thought to be foundational, split and fracture over technicalities. I’m so disappointed in the way we all proclaim to love, but when it’s tested we freeze up, and break off.  

Cold, iced conversations and miscommunications in rooms and across tables, where life was once shared together. But continue to pretend to be friends online? Why? 

Hardened.

Winter.

Lately, I have watched siblings step into being adults and pull away to build their own lives and stories that don’t include me. It’s selfish I know. Bittersweet, to watch something grow on its own that doesn’t require any pruning or help from you anymore. Little shoots of life and strength sprouting up, and thriving in the sunshine…NEED ROOM to grow. 

So I’m learning to let go. 

Spring.

Lately, I have been surprised and energized by the new relationships in my life. New people everywhere! New job, new surroundings, new routines, new jokes, new perspectives, new goals, new encouragement. New experiences. Fresh chances. Fresh opinions. Fresh AIR. Giving me opportunities, life and HOPE.  

It’s been amazing and I want it to stay this way forever. 

Summer.

Lately, I have been anchored by what HOME really means. My children, showered and jammied will sometimes still let me smell them and kiss them in exchange for a few more minutes before bed. They are growing into real people, but for these little moments they are still my littles…wrapped in blankets. My husband, the only person to VOW to stay by my side, and he has. He is faithful. He is constant. Cozy and comforting. Safe and warm. My one true love. My fruitful harvest. 

Fall.

And if you blink, the season spent with people has changed.  

This compels me to STOP and breathe in every moment.  

Take NO person I love for granted, despite disagreements.  

Be in each moment, with no distractions. 

Give my full attention and respect. 

Do my best to fully live the life I’m supposed to live.  

And LOVE people even when they are unloveable.  

If you have been in my life throughout different seasons, I thank you. I know time does not permit for all the people I have loved to exist all at once, in the same time and space, but I am grateful for each of you. 

When you wish upon a star


 

 “You know, any wish is possible. All it takes is a little courage to set it free.” – Jiminy Cricket 

When I was little, I used to look out my window and find the brightest star I could and make wishes. I was quite a dramatic kid. It makes sense now knowing that I’ve been a sensitive artist type all along, always leaning toward the whimsical and romantic. 

I used to wear my Grandmas satin nightgowns and high heels for dress up and imagine I was a princess or some fancy rich lady. I would go into her backyard, and remember feeling like it was an enchanted garden, where I was the center of everything wonderful. I used to constantly daydream and pretend.   
I’ll confess, as corny as it is to admit…I still do. I think that is why I have such an obsession with Disney, it allows me to reach into that place in my heart that still believes in magic. 
A wish is a “desire or hope for something to happen”. How many thousands of wishes have we had so far in our lives? 
How many of them have come true, unnoticed or forgotten about?
As we become adults our skeptical nature outgrew our ability to believe in wishes.  

Experience left us jaded.

Doubtful. 

Bitter.  

We learned that we must be responsible and realistic. We learn to rely on judgment and sometimes sarcasm to survive. Packaging up all of our hurts and disappointments from our childhood and carrying them around with us through life, waiting to find a place to set them down and rest.  
Some of us found a resting place in our friends, careers, and family life. Some found it in romance, accomplishment or a certain faith.  
But at some point, our little hearts grew hardened and we stopped believing. Finding that place to rest and catch our breath has become the goal of this life in some ways.  

Some of us do it well, and we find some contentment. While some of us crash and burn again and again. 

“Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called “all the things that can go wrong”.”            -Marianne Williamson   

 

For me, it showed itself in my body. The bigger I got and the more I would eat to find “rest”…I lost the belief that I was special and made for any special reason.  
Even after I found my true love and got married. Even after I experienced the joy of becoming a mother. Even after I poured my whole heart into my faith and truth as I understood it, I still felt unworthy and discontent. I didn’t believe that it was possible for me to be the me that I wanted to be, and that I felt was created to be.  
I put up a front for a long time. Doing all the “right” things that I thought I was “supposed” to do, all the while believing that there was no use. I was destined to fail and live with a certain level of misery.

And then I began to believe it could be different. 

While on vacation last week at Disney World, I found myself reminded again and again of the power of what we BELIEVE.

I know, I know, it’s cheesy but I can’t help it! God speaks to us in all kinds of ways. During the fireworks performance at the Magic Kingdom, I was overwhelmed with gratitude when I heard Jiminy Cricket say, “You know any wish is possible. All it takes is a little courage to set it free.”  

Gratitude for all the ways that my life has changed from one little moment of courage. 
Gratitude is the secret path back to believing in magic.  
We are blessed beyond what we can even fathom on a day to day basis.  
The air we breathe, the water we drink, the opportunities, the compliments, the genuine friendships and relationships and ultimately the choice, again and again to choose LOVE instead of FEAR.  
Every single day of my vacation as I walked and walked and WALKED some more, I found myself saying thank you. My body was able to take me all over the place and endure the many hours of walking in the Florida heat. My body has changed for sure, but I know it had to begin in my mind. 

“Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you which is GOOD and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 NLT 



http://youtu.be/cRIzFNeEMqs

 

sorella minore

I was 8 years old when you were born.

You were such a beautiful baby, I was jealous of you but not in a bad way.

There are so many things about our younger years that are blurred;
we were set apart.

Destined for division.

 

As I got older, and constantly in trouble, I only seemed to seal that fate.

But now, as time has pushed us past the barriers of adolescents and we make up our own minds about things,

you have become the best kind of friend that I didn’t know I’d need.

You are strong and stubborn and adamant.

You are beautiful, and wildly authentic.

Loud and boisterous.

Hilarious and headstrong.

You are reliable and loyal and hard-working.

Independent and sharp.

You will always argue for the under dog, you can’t help it.

Most people don’t get to see the you that deeply thinks and questions.

Deeply feels and loves, selflessly.

You are a teacher, taking time and liberties that no one else does…or would.

You are vinyl records and recycled bottles of baby houseplants.

You are adult soccer leagues and recorder of our memories.

You are an artist.

Your instruments are everything in your reach.

Pens, pencils, banjo’s, ink,

cast iron skillet and bacon grease.

I’m so proud of you.

Proud to call you my friend .

Proud to call you my sister.

 

(HAPPY BIRTHDAY 🙂 )
 

 

 

 

 

 

Every summer has its own story

I thought it would be fun to revisit an old post from last summer. Especially since it has a nostalgic vibe to it. Enjoy!

Mandimonologue

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The summer I turned sixteen seems like an exaggerated moment in time when I think of it. Summers were long and lazy when we were younger. Watching cartoons, random tv and playing in the back yard with my siblings while our parents were at work filled the daylight hours. Lots of fighting with each other and calling mom at work only to get in more trouble for having bothered her in that way. Day after day of boredom and drowsiness.

At night I pretended to be more mature than I was and I would sneak out from my bedroom window to hangout with friends or even sneak them IN to hang out with me. I’m pretty sure that was the summer I felt like I was painfully in love for the first time and spent my thought life day dreaming of ways to see him at night. The kids I…

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Philosophy and R&B

We have a new radio station in my home town that plays pop music from the 90’s.    Technically, I guess the kids ’round here are calling it an oldies station…but I just can’t go that far.  All I know is, its music I listened to growing up and its funny how quickly a song can turn into a memory (you see what I just did there Mari?).

I just heard the song  “Two Occasions” by Babyface.  Man, this song captured the essence of my adolescent heartache.  I used to crush HARD.  When I decided to like a young man, I was committed.  I guess I’ve always been a sensitive, romantic artist type.

(Here is the YouTube link I found, the video is TERRIBLY awesome.)

 

Who will ever know the amount of time spent in front of the bathroom mirror singing my pain away and acting as if I was in front of a wind machine filming my music video.  You never knew a white girl could get down so hard on New Edition or Jodeci!  Time spent in front of the same mirror, perfecting the art of a messy bun or high pony-tail (with the ever necessary, carefully pulled strands of hair on either side of your face to mirror the T-Boz look).  Strait gangsta.  Never mind that I was a chubby, red-headed white kid from Northern Nevada. The struggle was real.  I wish I could get my hands on the journals and notebooks I kept my two years of middle school. That is when I discovered that writing could make me feel better about things that were bothering me, though mostly all it did was get me in trouble for writing trash talk and bad poetry about everyone.  

Back when there wasn’t anything quite as painful as not having anyone to couple skate with at the roller rink on a Friday night (that is IF my parents allowed me to go).  The dramas that we had were so REAL and PASSIONATE.  If a boy and girl dated longer than two weeks it was the REAL DEAL.  The fights and squabbles we had were ridiculous.  That was when we had to actually write notes with pens and pencils on binder paper, fold them up and pass them to each other.  No texting, no social media. Just good old-fashioned rubbish.  Simpler times that seemed so intense while I was living them. Looking back now, it only makes me laugh!  If I had only known how short that time would be, I would not have rushed through it.

How cliche.

Now, I can’t help but wonder about my son who is going to be 9 this winter, and what kind of teenager he is going to mutate into in a few short years.   I can’t even allow myself to imagine what kind of teenager my daughter will be yet.  Gives me heartburn.  I think about all of the little triumphs and tragedies they will experience that I might not even get to know about because I’ll be the old boring mom.  Soon enough, they will have a whole secret world of thought and dreams and loves and heartbreak that my Hubs and I will only be spectators of.  Rooting and cheering or grieving from the sidelines as we watch and pray with bated breath for a strong and victorious finish.

Its only in thinking of my kids growing older that I can appreciate this line from John Mayer”s song “No Such Thing”:

And all of our parents, they’re getting older.

I wonder if they’ve wished for anything better?

While in their memories, tiny tragedies.

They love to tell you, stay inside the lines.  

But something’s better on the other side.

I wonder if my own parents watched my teenage years approach with as much reservation, nervousness and even a little excitement/sadness that I feel for my own kids?

Did they hope and pray ( as I do for mine) that I would stay inside the lines and get it right??  Did they know deep down (as I do) that, that isn’t at all possible?  Will I remember this when my kids are older and steeped deeply within the dramas and concerns of their social world, that they will make mistakes and not stay inside the lines?  Will my husband and I remember how enormous it felt to crush on someone the first time, and be rejected the first time, and yes, even get into trouble (real trouble) for the first time?   Will we lose our minds and take it personally?  Will we show grace and understanding while still providing direction and discipline?  Will we be able to keep a foot in the door with our kids so that we can really know whats going on with them??

AHHHHHHHHHH!

Luckily, I don’t have to have all of these answers today, and most likely never will.  I will just have to trust God with my babies who loves them even more than my husband I do.  But I do wonder about the little people they are becoming and if they will be ok.

This evolution of roles and growing up stuff isn’t for sissy’s.

 

 

 

The here and now

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“So line on up, and take your place
And show your face to the morning.
Cause one of these days, you’ll be born and raised.
And it all comes on without warning.”

– John Mayer, “Born and Raised”

Another summer is approaching.

Quickly.

It seems spring has barely unfolded it’s offerings before the heat of summer threatens to come on in and steal the show.

I hate to be the cliche person that seems baffled at how quickly time rolls by, shaking my head at all the young whipper-snappers.
But alas, here I am: amazed that before we know it, Memorial Day weekend will turn into Labor Day weekend and we will all be talking about how crazy it is that we are approaching the holiday season.

But don’t worry, I’m not asking you to dust of your Christmas bins. (Some of us just barely got that stuff packed back up!). Actually, I’m suggesting the complete opposite.

As I type this I am enjoying being a passenger on a family drive. Taking in the warmth and the sights and feeling like anything might be possible. Feeling thankful and joyful. Feeling like what lies ahead this summer may have the potential to be one of those great summers that songs are written about. One of those summers that are filled with smells and tastes and textures that will burn into your memory like the sun on your arm, resting on the open window of your car headed somewhere promising.

Wind blowing, music blaring.

I reach over and take this snap shot as we are driving and am struck once again at how simply God nudges us. These moments are all just brief snap shots. If you’re not paying attention you might miss it completely.

Miss out on a wink from your husband that speaks more to me than hours of road trip conversation.

Miss out on little fingers wanting to hold my hand for a moment.

Miss out on little voices yelling “slug bug!”.

Miss out on whatever is in store.

No, I’m in no rush. Today I don’t want to miss a thing.

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Pushing pause on a moment

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Right this minute,
we are all safe and sound.
I’ll take it.

Hold my breath and enjoy.
No one is mad.
No one is troubled.
Everyone is right where they should be.
My family.

There is a whisper of perfection.
So frail, we must talk softly.
So subtle, I almost missed it.
A fleeting glimpse.
A bubble bouncing
on a blade of grass;
the burst inevitable but gentle.

A moment demanding to be noticed.
As delicate as a dress
being saved for a special occasion.
Taking careful time to be revealed.
Appreciated.

So, stop and listen.
Sip and taste.
Savoring the sweetness swirled
in a heavy glass and enjoyed.

Cheers!

This moment,
where all is well and rare.
Kids are outside to play.
Laughing and giggling.
Today, it seems there are no monsters to slay and I can say
I’ve mothered them well.
Relax and welcome the swell.
Pride and contentment warm my face.

I smile and glow and celebrate
a moment of jokes,
hugs and welcome homes!

In an instant, a visit.
My brother on hometown soil.
Respite for this refugee.
Our hero,
our Drakie.

We all grasp at our chance to share him.
Slice his time like a juicy pie.
Against his will, but he won’t mind.
He has no choice.
Making the rounds.
Breaking bread with friends…
before his journey beings.

Right this minute we know we’re lucky.
To see that he is still himself.
Home and whole.
Here, and FULL of life and laughter.
Stories, glories and dreams.
Victories.

Burn this onto all of our hearts,
file it away as he goes.
So when he closes his eyes tight at night we will be with him there.
Wherever he will be.
Where a war will rage
to rob him of his joy
and memories.
Innocence and revelries.

We will be as real as we can be.
Tucked into a corner of his heart that he will guard fiercely.
Visiting when the coast is clear.

This is now, for real.

As real as his big, brown bag thrown into the back of my truck.
Heavy with the clothes and concerns he has packed up.
Tossed aside for a respite,
and peace of mind.

As real as his laugh that hasn’t changed since he was a kid.
Singing and dancing in cowboy boots and fringe.
Making everyone laugh as he always did.

As real as the curly red hair kept short on his head.

As real as this moment that’s already being muted.

As real as being fully alive as we are right now!
Sewn together in a way
I couldn’t describe if I tried.

My tribe.

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9 years of marriage and I think Team Holden still has street cred?!

Today I’m celebrating my wedding anniversary. 2004 was a year to remember. The 9/11 Commission Report was published and all anyone could talk about. (Don’t let me get started down the 9/11 rabbit hole…) More importantly, we lost Old Dirty Bastard to a drug over dose, may he rest in peace. Million Dollar Baby won best picture that year at the Oscars, and yes…Michael and Mandi Holden were married.

This is one of my most favorite pictures of my husband. It perfectly captures his personality: loving, selfless, patient, stoically handsome, carrying our family through…albeit, slightly annoyed.
That pretty well sums up my man! I’d be habitually irritated too if I were married to me. I’m a difficult woman. With a passionate Italian temper. It’s ok. I make up for it in other areas, but that’s a different post.

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In honor of these 9 years together, I have compiled a list of the 9 best things about him. ( 9 seems like a random number, but it can be special in its own way…it is the last single digit anniversary we will ever have, that’s significant right?)

9.) He always smells good. Seriously. I’m intoxicated with this man. I know that seems cheesy but he must have his pheromones on LOCK because homeboy always smells good. After work? You bet! After the gym? BRING IT. Morning breath? Well…that may be questionable but you get the general idea. I always sleep on his pillows when he’s gone because they smell like his funky bed head…too much?

8.) He always fixes everything around here. If something breaks or falls down or crumbles, I never fear because I know that the hubs will figure it out. He is a manly man whom I can always depend on. Even if he doesn’t know how, he always finds a way. I probably take advantage of this quality a bit too much. I’m such a girl in this way…it’s kind of pathetic.

7.) He shares in my Disneyland obsession. This is a unique trait to have because its very dorky…but I like it. Besides his fanatical loyalty (and quite possibly first love?) to the St.Louis Rams, Disneyland falls right into line as the chosen destination of daydreaming for the Holden’s. We freaking love going there and talking about going without our kids WAY more than we should. We are not snobs about much in life, but when it comes to vacation destinations…Disney is our standard. A little lame? Maybe…but it keeps us young. 🙂

6.) He is a phenomenal singer/dancer/performer which some of you may not know. He has the skills of a seasoned pro and breaks it down to an absolute art form. Some of his favorites include, “My Milkshake” and “Pocket of Sunshine” And ANYTHING by Hall & Oates. Someday I’ll catch it on video and I promise, it’ll leave you breathless. What’s a sweeter sight and sound than your husbands Adam’s apple vibrating to the tune of “Un break my Heart” by Toni Braxton? (Our favorite road trip jam) He’s so good, it hurts. Look for him on The Voice.

5.) He is hysterical. Seriously. He makes me laugh all the time. Like stupid laugh…when you just giggle over dumb stuff because the laughter has been set in motion and you can’t stop it. I love to laugh with him. Unfortunately this mostly happens at inappropriate times like church.

4.) He loves my crazy family and puts up with all of our loud and dramatic antics. He sits back and buckles in for the ride and I love him for it. He has let almost all of my siblings live with us at different times without any hesitation and has loved them as his own siblings. This has meant the world to me since I am so close to them.

3.) He is always proud of me. This one I can never quite grasp. No matter how ugly, gross, enormous or unworthy I feel, he is always proud to have me on his arm as his wife. Nothing has made me feel more beautiful or confident in my life than the unconditional love of this man.

2.) He is the most wonderful father to our children. He loves their mama. He plays with them. Snuggles with them. Talks to them. Provides for them. Teaches them. Disciplines them. And most importantly is a wonderful example to them.

1.) He loves Jesus. Like, really, truly seeks to please God, wholeheartedly everyday. While I am often spiritually freaking out and riding the waves of doubt, he is always trusting God and putting his cares and worries into His hands. Even when he doesn’t feel solid and secure, he is always anchoring me back down into a solid foundation that I need. He has integrity that I’ll never have. He keeps his word even when I don’t. He has been the best husband I could ever ask for and certainly not one I deserve…but I’m glad he is mine.

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Reflections


“As adults, we try to develop the character traits that would have rescued our parents.”
– Alain de Botton

This quote absolutely stung my face when I read it.
It rolled across my newsfeed so unassuming I almost missed it. When I finally read it, it attacked me with its depth. I’m still not even sure I have it fully unpacked and examined in my mind.

Why did I find this quote so haunting?

We can all tell stories of our upbringing and have scars to show. Some worse than others, but we all all have a history that we fold up nicely and pack with us everywhere we go. We have moments in our lives where we wished things could have happened differently or not at all.
I’ve heard it said before that “childhood is what you spend your adulthood getting over.”

Our entire belief systems about who we are and the world around us are built within the confines of a couple decades with (in my case) wild, immature 20 something’s at the helm. Sometimes when I look at pictures of my parents (and subsequent step parents) in old albums and see their faces that were captured at ages younger than I am now, I feel like I know them better. Differently. More like peers. My own maturity and experiences shedding an understanding light that was never seen before as a child.

People don’t PLAN for destruction and heart break. They hope and dream and intend for good. For peace. For love and life. The same way my husband and I do. The dreams my parents had navigating through my childhood are probably close to the same we have heading up this ship with our babies. I can’t help but think of what my own children will think when they are in their thirties looking back on us?
Now that I’m a mother, it’s terrifying to think of what imprints I’ve left and have yet to leave. Hoping that there will be something good and valuable in there somewhere! Hoping that our intentions will be known. Praying for them to confidently grow into the people that God created them to be despite us and our selfishness.

If there is anything to learn, it’s that while there is still time I can make the choice to grow and change. To LIVE life fully and be an example to them of how to rise above whatever it is that is hell bent on dragging you down.
This is so hard because it requires painful honesty and admissions. Birthing genuine character requires labor. There’s just no way around it. In the same way that I hope my kids will be able to forgive us and show us grace for the ways in which we will fail them I know that I’m called to do the same with my own parents.
With my own HISTORY.
Maybe even with my own self.
That’s really all the rescuing I need…from my own self destruction.

Instead of living my adult life “getting over” my childhood I would rather just be free to LIVE.

I heard this song this morning and it felt like a burst of fresh, clean air. She sings, ” the glory of God is man FULLY alive”.

May it be so!

“Just Showed Up”
By: Sara Groves

Spending my time sleep walking
Moving my mouth but not saying a thing
Hoping the changes would take by working their way from the outside in
I was in love with an idea
Preoccupied with how a life should appear
Spending my time at the surface repairing the holes in the shiny veneer

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I’m standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

I’m going to live my life inspired
Look for the holy in the common place
Open the windows and feel all that’s honest and real until I’m truly amazed
I’m going to feel all my emotions
I’m going to look you in the eyes
I’m going to listen and hear until it’s finally clear and it changes our lives

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I’m standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

Oh the glory of God is man fully alive
Oh the glory of God is man fully alive

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I’m standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

Look what I’ve been missing

Every summer has its own story

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The summer I turned sixteen seems like an exaggerated moment in time when I think of it. Summers were long and lazy when we were younger. Watching cartoons, random tv and playing in the back yard with my siblings while our parents were at work filled the daylight hours. Lots of fighting with each other and calling mom at work only to get in more trouble for having bothered her in that way. Day after day of boredom and drowsiness.

At night I pretended to be more mature than I was and I would sneak out from my bedroom window to hangout with friends or even sneak them IN to hang out with me. I’m pretty sure that was the summer I felt like I was painfully in love for the first time and spent my thought life day dreaming of ways to see him at night. The kids I grew up with in my cul-de-sac were sneaking about in the night just like I was and it seemed like we owned the whole neighborhood after everyone went to bed. My dad worked out of town all week during that time and would only come home on the weekends. My step mom worked such lengthy and grueling hours at her job that when she crashed at night I was free to take full advantage…and I did.

We had a 3ft deep above ground pool in our backyard that summer that got most of its use in those late night and wee morning hours. We would swim and smoke flavored cigarettes ( and other stuff perhaps) and listen to music. I had become obsessed with listening to Led Zeppelin that summer initially because I had learned my dad hated that band and thought it was devil music. I was intent on challenging him in every way to somehow assert myself but eventually I became a fan just because they were awesome. I had a greatest hits CD that became the soundtrack of that summer and even still when I hear the songs “Black Dog” or “Stairway to Heaven” it makes me think of those nights of mischief. I think of my sixteen year old self thinking she’s cool because she is a mature music consumer. Playing old records and learning the words to Jimi Hendrix songs and making my own hemp jewelry with chipped blue and green nail polished fingers.

Now I just think, “Ugh. How cliche.” Shaking my head with a little embarrassment.

Would I have ever imagined back then that the summer I turned 31 I would be the happily married mother of two? Happy with my family life but suffering in my heart trying desperately to gain spiritual, emotional and physical health? You don’t feel yourself change so drastically or mature from the ripe old age of 16 until you stop and look back and realize you are worlds away from those barefoot in the grass, worry free nights. I wonder if my sixteen year old self would be proud of who I am now? Would she be ashamed to know that she would grow into…this?

It makes me wonder. It really makes me wonder. (Zeppelin fans, get it? Ha!)

If I strain I still can’t remember what my goals or dreams were at that age. I honestly didn’t think I’d survive to make it to adulthood. The emotional toll that adolescence takes seems blinding and all encompassing at that age. My biggest concerns were not getting caught doing the things I was doing and avoiding getting in trouble.

Maybe my current state of affairs isn’t far off from that still?

Still trying to get away with rubbish and sneak around doing whatever I feel like without wanting to endure the consequences? Challenging my Heavenly Father to assert my independence? Clinging to my false sense of control by hurting myself?

My current eating life feels much like this no matter how committed I am to obedience.

Do we ever learn?

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