Surviving Abuse

Girl-Holding-the-Sun-Sunrise__32633-480x320This post is very personal to me. This is probably the most personal, transparent thing I have ever written, but I need to write it. I need to get it out there so I can finish healing and hopefully it will help someone else going through it or who has gone through it. First off, my choice to follow Jesus Christ is my choice and to write this without giving him the glory, would be wrong and selfish. To say that I am who I am today on my own would be wrong of me. Because I believe it was and is He who brings me to newer and higher levels of forgiveness and restoration. He is the supreme creator and giver of life. Even when I doubted my reasons for being on this planet, He knows. And it is with Him and for Him I choose to give my life too.

I grew up in a very non traditional home. Everything I thought was real was not. My grand parents on my mother’s side had adopted me and were raising me as their own. I had brothers and nieces and nephews who were far older than I was, and there were a lot of times in my life, that I just knew the pieces did not fit. but I accepted things as so, just because I think I didn’t want to know the answers. there were times the abuse was very high in our home. There were times the alcoholism was very high in our home. There was a lot of cussing and name calling and several times when I thought I was nothing more than a disappointment. Now I realize that just wasn’t the case. With all the bad things I saw, I wanted to remind myself of all the good things I learned. My mother never complained. She could sew a 3 piece suit for my twin brothers in a day and have us all 3 in matching Easter outfits. She worked full-time and came home and took care of her kids and husband and cooked and never once complained!

She would can and freeze and work a garden. We had a swimming pool she took care of, she could do it all. One time I came home from school and she decided to paint the house a different color. She was quite a woman. She didn’t put up with any crap and that’s for sure. if she cooked supper, you ate it. if not, you got it back in front of you on the next meal. and the process continued until you gave in. Wasting was not an option at our house, she grew up during the depression and she knew what hard times were. There were times she would drink and cuss and be so mean, and other times, you knew she was proud of you. There was a strange dichotomy in our house that was always present.

With all the bad, the good that I now see, was she never complained, she did what she had too and she had the strongest will of any woman I ever met. When she got older and had to tell us she had cancer, she found out about a month before the holiday season had begun. She took us in the living room and said, “I’ve got something to tell you, I don’t want no tears, no crying and don’t act a fool, I have cancer, this is how it is, now deal with it. I’m going to fight it and that’s the end of it.” So matter of factually. And although I asked her questions about her care, she had set it up to have a special van take her to and from chemo and never really shared a lot of it with us. See she had to get a van because she had lost both legs to hardening of the artery disease, and she still chose to live alone. She went to an elder care facility and lead in the crafts and activities portion of the program. The women who worked there all said she needed to be a coordinator and put on the pay roll for all she done for them instead of being a client.

One time I was faced with a physical crisis. I had been diagnosed with a liver disease that left me with cirrhosis at 32 years old. The doctors gave me 6 months to live. when I went to her house after I had been released from being in 2 different hospitals in a month,  she looked at me and said, “I hear you’ve been sick.” I said, “yes”. “Well, I guess there’s only one thing left for you to do, hu”? “What’s that”? I asked. She very easily said “Fight”! She was a rock. And she was my rock. And when she passed away, I felt like I had lost a part of myself. I felt like that foundation of strength and courage was forever gone from me.

When I found out I was adopted and met my birth mother, which was my grand mothers daughter, it didn’t take me long to see she was nothing like her mother. She wasn’t cut from the same cloth,and although this was who she was, I had to resolve myself that I was the stronger of us two. I have  managed to find my inner strength and resolve to go forward. I have since, found my biological father. He is a good man, with character and morals and he loves with all his heart. He is married to a wonderful woman who knows how to be a giving, loving mother. They both love beyond differences and unconditionally. They have been a  huge blessing in my life. I have also had the ability to be reunited with my twin brothers. The biological children of my grand mother. They are 7 yrs older than I am. They were amazing. I always knew when they were around that nothing was ever going to happen to me. they were raised a lot tougher than I was. As a child I would cry every time the lash of the belt came down from our parents. I wished over and over and prayed endlessly that the abuse they had to endure would stop. But it never did. And yet through it all, they never resented me from being exempt from the abuse. Now as an adult, it is with my father and them that I am able to feel like I can breath again. Like the lies of my childhood aren’t really lies after all. It was who I am and it is who I have become.

Wishing over and over that things were different and that I had a mother who would hold me and love me, that which none of us ever got. But we got a fighter’s spirit. A character that tells you to push through against all odds and circumstances. Even when we have done it our way and it has turned out wrong, we still have the character to say, “yep I screwed up, so I guess ill fix it”. Weve grown up not asking anything from anyone and knowing every achievement was our own. And every failure was also our own. And we have found out that God has let us survive it all through good and bad without compromise. I believe in the bible, I believe in God the Father. I believe in being a good citizen and working hard and playing hard. And although my own children may have gone without something they never went without morals, character or values. In a time when I thought I had fought my last fight with life, I am reminded of the same spirit which was beat and yelled and cussed into us. I know now, to turn the bad times into a glass, instead of a wall. you can’t see through a wall, but you can see through a window. If I turn the wall, which once was a stumbling block, into a window, I can see through to the other side. Then I have the choice to open the window and either enjoy the view or climb out of it. The survivors spirit put into me by my parents and created by God Himself.

I think I can see God now, smiling to Himself as He sees me climb out the window. Our family can’t be chosen, they are our legacy to the world. To honor your mother and father in spite of their flaws and shortcomings is the greatest gift you can ever give yourself. With it comes forgiveness that God will honor, by freeing your mind and spirit. I may have wasted a lot of time feeling sorry for myself, and wondering why me, but there was no acceptance in that. Until you can accept the people in your family, you can not accept a part of yourself. And thereby, you are clipping your own wings from soaring high above your own expectations.

As I woke today and called about a job position, I thanked the woman for her time and explained that I knew it was odd to ask for an interview in a short 5 minutes, but that I would be an asset to her company and if given me a chance, she wouldn’t regret hiring me. Where did that kind of gall and self-confidence come from? it came from the fact  I am a survivor, in good company with other survivors within my clan.  The same spirit of being Syrian and Irish immigrants in a new world had. Knowing that although the road may be not just scary but completely uncertain, I am up for anything and can continue the task set before me. That maybe God had indeed created me for such a time as this.

I thank God for this day. For this blog and the ability to use it for good and for showing His glory and mercies are always present. For giving me and returning to me a family heritage I can be proud of finally, instead of finding fault and negative. That I have found acceptance in them as well as myself. that I can grow and learn and move forward in life knowing my family love me and I love them, and we have a life time of new memories to share.

My First Hike

Clay hillThis weekend I had the pleasure to enjoy some of Kentucky’s many outdoor sites. I hiked in Clay Hill Memorial Forest. This 250 acre forest was given to the commonwealth by the Sander’s  family who believed that responsible ownership of land was important. Today, the forest serves as research center for the local University as well as recreation and renewal. The story I read stated that the first owners bought the property in 1795 and grew the farm from 300 to 4,000 acres.

We walked a short trail and saw the various types of trees and little Eco centers available for study. Small ponds and water areas are homes to a vast array of fowl and creatures. There are several varieties of tree and flowers and all kinds of things to make you just look and say “Oh”. As we walked, the color of the leaves in all their Autumn splendor was captivating. The cool, crisp, clean fall air was exhilarating. The sunset from inside the tall trees cast shadows of light and dark on the branches and set a tone of tranquility and peace. It was definitely a walk of renewal and splendor. As we walked along, we discussed the glory of nature and enjoyed the cabins and the areas of study and learning they had set up.

As the endorphin’s kicked in to continue our trek, I felt a sense pf peace. I thought, how wonderful it is to find a new hobby and maybe this could be one for me to try. And I realized the best hobbies are the ones which take us out of our comfort zone. The ones that encourage us to grow and stretch and learn and discover. I don’t know if my body will be up for scaling the highest mountains, but I do know that these leisurely walks in the height of our seasons splendor are exactly what I was looking for. I felt refreshed, renewed and more alive than I had felt in a very long time.

The friends I brought with me to share in this after noon journey, enjoyed it as much as I did. And their small daughter certainly enjoyed her run through the trails. As she and my dog ran up ahead of us, the dog running in circles around her, she would squeal with delight and laughter at their antics. It is a place where we still have many more trails to blaze and many more seasons yet to experience it.

Image via Kentucky Tourism

A Blog About Blogging

Well we are into our first week as a blogger. I have created this word press blog, I have a pinterest with ONE follower, (:)) created a twitter, an account at chimp-mail, have a full-blown g mail plus account as well as hoot suite. I have always loved writing and have written for my whole life off and on. So when the idea came to me to start a blog, I was a bit nervous. I have never taken criticism very well, so putting myself out there wasn’t the best idea I have ever had. But one week later, my mind is full and my eyes are tired and my clicker finger for my mouse needs a splint!

I have read every thing I can find on the web as well as pinterest, and let me tell you, the resources for blogging on pinterest are alive and well! People actually get paid to write about writing a blog! how cool is that? With that being said, I have re-familiarized myself with html and codes and royalty free pictures and fonts and downloads and ugh! the list goes on!

I am so excited to have gotten this far! But now the reality is, my battery charger for my camera has charged its last battery, meaning, no pics right now to add to my blog content. 😦 My go daddy 4 pages of web site sit unfinished and I find myself stressing so much over the blank page design idea I am wishing I had a template! My WordPress account is a .com and not a .org, which means the analytic’s and the things I can utilize to keep a watch on my hits and visits and stats are unavailable in this free version. I have learned more from some of the most knowledgeable people on the web! I am so grateful they are there! I even replied to one blogger about her blog post on how to blog and she sent me an email reply she had written her self with more tips and tricks! I have met a few very awesome people so far! Every one is so polite and so professional without being unapproachable. The best people in this industry, making a living doing exactly what they love! Blogging and helping people!

I do not have a single doubt in my mind that I have chosen the right hobby. Hopefully I will be able to follow in the foot steps of these wonderful people I have met so far! and I might add, they are NOT all women! I am following a man who  blogs who is spot on with his blog-posts! Very helpful and gracious as well. Hopefully one day I will get an email from him next time! He has quit his full time job and gone full time into blogging and is now a consultant. But he is still able to put his family first and work a scheduled amount of hours. Most of the people who have decided to blog, either did it for a specific reason, or to supplement their incomes, which is what i would really love to do. Be a spokes person for a company and write reviews on products. Actually get paid to do what i love to do as well as help people!

I hope one day I have a great post on a great topic that goes viral and floods the internet, but considering this is my third post, I think I can slow down a bit and take it one step at a time. After-all, I still have a four page site to build. And a brand logo, and headers, and buttons and an about me page and dishes and dinner and laundry…yeah, I am sounding like a blogger already!

A Day In This Life

I have heard and read that the bible says “Fear Not” 365 times. That is once a day for a year. That is God’s personal message to His believers. That’s not to say I don’t fear, and I definitely do my share of fearing. but I also like to think for every day that I say, OK I will not have fear over this situation in my life that He does come to the rescue. Take my children, I have 4 daughters, and only one at home. Two of my daughters have given me grand children outside of marriage. I have watched the oldest struggle with finishing high school, then getting a 4 year degree in college and now trying to find her place in this world, all with her daughter in tow. By the way, the grand-daughter turned 10 this year and she is quite amazing!

I also have a 3-year-old grand son. the first boy in my family in 14 years. Needless to say, he is quite spoiled, and very much-loved. Not that his place has any more importance than my girls or my grand-daughter, but lets face it, in a family of mostly women, he was doomed from the start. Now as I watch my second daughter struggle with being a single mom and trying to work full-time and try to find her own place in this world all while dealing with a turbulent relationship with her sons father, I hear that still small voice in my head say again “Fear Not”.

Being a single mom for most of the time I raised my girls, I never learned the fear not thing. As a matter of fact, I feared a lot! And I got angry over all the fear I had in my life. But some how, when you get older, you just learn to relax and let some things go. Like fear. Fear has stopped me from moving forward with dreams, and hopes and aspirations. Fear allowed me to hang on to destructive, toxic relationships. Fear has kept me in the same place for longer than God wanted me there. Don’t get me wrong, God is not pushy by any means, but I am sure He would have wanted me to walk a little faster and move a little quicker at times when I have held myself back.

And now it seems again I am facing yet another “Fear Not” situation with one of my children. When everything inside of me wants to get all caught up in the strife of these issues and offer my own brand of problem solving, I know I have to refrain. To move forward and work these things out myself would mean I fear much. And it is at that point in most of our lives that we make the biggest mistakes. When we take matters into our own hands instead of “Fearing Not” we take God out of the equation and even more so important, we take Him out of the solution. When everything inside me is screaming to fix this, that is when I must step back, fear not and let god handle it. He can handle things and people and situations much better than I ever could.

I wish I had learned this a long time ago. A lot of things would have been different in my life and in the lives of my children. And I could have even enjoyed my life so much more! Life becomes easier when you take the type A personality and you give it to God and “Fear Not”.

Another Season

I heard a man on YouTube preaching about Esther. He told the story how she really didn’t want to go into the king, but at the insistence of  Mordecai she went to him. And there lies the famous passage ” And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then that got me thinking, of all I have done in my life, and all I have not done. And all that has been inside my heart, hidden from others. And I began thinking about all the missed opportunities and chances and just plan old-fashioned living I had missed out on in my own life, when “such a time as this” had presented itself. How many times had I not done something my heart was crying out to do because I was afraid or didn’t think I was good enough. All my life I have been in love with words. The written word; books, poems and the business of words themselves. The way one word could form another word and then an even bigger words with bigger meanings. The way they sounded when the syllables rolled off your tongue. Reading  was never enough for me, I had to sit with dictionary in hand and define all the words in the sentence to really get into the author’s mind. At one time I even wanted to be an etymologist. The fact is, I have wanted to do a lot in my life, and sometimes it never worked out, but sometimes, I also chose not to do it. There fore I failed myself. I’m not the smartest, or most the scholarly individual, and I am so sure there are more people doing this who are and will succeed more than I will; but who knows that I have not come to the internet for such a time as this?