Yesterday on my way to work, the song “It won’t be like this for long” came on the radio. Well before I knew it, I had tears streaming down my face while I sang at the top of my lungs. As I drove, I thought of the difficult years as a young mom. The hardships that came around every curve. The days that I thought would never end. The sleepless nights and early mornings…the odd jobs, the broke down vehicles, the canceled insurance, the bare cabinets, my precious children wanting things that I could not provide. 

Looking back we were at the ball field all the time. Well, not really, because travel ball wasn’t a thing in our area back then. So I guess we were at the ball field for a few months every year. I loved that time so much. No social media back then, just good ole sit with other parents and chat. Very few of the parents even had cell phone during that time so we had each other’s undivided attention at those practices and games. In fact, I was in such deep conversation once that a foul ball hit me right square on the forehead! Us moms would have our cameras and we would take pictures until our film ran out. Usually, I didn’t have the money to develop my film so it would be months until I saw the pictures that I had taken. Those days of cheering for those boys still ring in my ears if I think hard enough. I cherish every moment on those fields. I do believe it was 9 years total that we loved us some baseball. Yes, it won’t be like this for long….

The school days, the projects, the class parties and field trips, I tried my best to be there for everything. There were so many times that I searched couch cushions and underneath the car seats for change to roll up, so our kids could have field trip money. There were times that I cried in the mornings before taking them to school because I was so exhausted from worry and lack of sleep. Since there was no social media, I thought that I was alone. I didn’t know anyone who talked about their feelings back then. I chose to laugh loudest over my circumstances, making jokes, if I felt the urge to break down. This was my coping mechanism. I pushed myself to unhealthy lengths, mentally.  I thought those days would never end…

As the kids found different interests in their young lives and forged new friendships, I tried desperately to make their every request made. Many times that was difficult. Many times they just couldn’t get what they wanted. As a mom, that brought more hurt than I  ever could have imagined. I just wanted those days to get better. I truly thought those difficult days would never end…

One day, so many years later, things got better. One day all those tearful prayers that I sent up were answered. One day I was able to sleep all night long, peacefully. One day I was able to get a long, hot shower with no interruption. One day the cabinets were full. One day the car had a full tank. One day the house was quiet. 

Oh my sweet young momma’s out there. I see you. I feel you. I was you. I am you. It’s so hard right now. You want to be super mom. You sign your kids up for everything, no matter how exhausted you know you will be. You get upset because you can’t do it all. You can’t expect to work, be an active mom and have a spotless home. It’s taken me lots of years to choose what battles to bring me down. A messy home no longer brings me down. There are days that I wish I had just one night with my 3 kids sitting with me on the couch watching a movie. The spilled drinks, the smashed cookies on the floor, the laughter, the comfort of warm little bodies loving their momma….

It won’t be like this for long, Momma. There will be days that seem to never end. The kids will have extra curricular activities, they’ll need to eat, they’ll need help with homework, the laundry will be piled high, dirty dishes will fill the sink , doctors appointments will need to be made, bills will need to be paid… But suddenly it’s years later. Your sweet babies are grown. At some point you had cookies and milk with them for the last time. At some point you wiped their rear for the last time. At some point the sleepovers are no more. At some point, you watched him hit his last home run or wrestle his last match. At some point you watch her cheer or cut flips for the last time. At some point you drive them to school for the last time. Eventually those never ending days do indeed end. And when they do, you will feel a sense of relief, but you will also experience a longing for the bond that you had with your children during that time. 

Oh Momma, it won’t be like this for long….I know.

 

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It Won’t Be Like This For Long…

Life was hard. Taking care of the family took priority over anything and everything. Making sure the children had what they needed. Making sure my husband had what he needed. I chose to take a backseat for my wants to make sure they had their needs. I cried a lot back then. There were days that I if I could have disappeared into thin air, I would have. I absolutely hated to run into someone I knew, who looked great, obviously, taking good care of themselves. I hated to hear of someone’s fabulous “much needed vacation” as they liked to call it. (Especially the trips to Disney World) In my distorted, sad mind all I heard was “I’m a better mom than you and love my kids more than you love yours.”  I was not a fan of family gatherings either, because I knew that I was the different one. The one that didn’t have it together. The one that couldn’t even pull an outfit together. The one who always needed a haircut. The one who box colored her hair and it turned out orange. The one who laughed loudest at her own misfortunes. That was me. 

That almost feels like a lifetime ago. The times we ran out of toilet paper for days. The times that we NEVER had paper towels or tissues. The days of not even having band-aids for the kids boo-boos. The days of stretching food. The days of wanting nothing more than a Sundrop, 2 Goody powders and a hot shower. Today that would have been called “self-care.”  With what’s going on in our world, many folks are in the same boat that I was in, all those years ago. The difference is “I’ve been there.” (Some of you have too) I know what it’s like to go without. I know what it’s like to tell the kids “we can’t, sorry.” I know what it’s like to NOT go somewhere. I know what it’s like to want my hair done so badly. I know what it’s like to run out of bare necessities. I know what it’s like to not go on vacation. Guess what? For all of the things I thought I wanted back then.  For all of my jealousy of others and what they had. For all of my embarrassment of my “not have” appearance…those tough days didn’t last, but I did. So here I am this morning, not really effected at all by much. I still drink my coffee. Still say my prayers. Still laugh loudest at my own shortcomings. Those difficult days were preparing me for today’s times. I am still plain Jane. I still don’t have the clothes, however, I don’t want them. The NIKE’s I so desperately wanted on my feet, well I got me some $12 Wal-mart slip on’s which I love and are oh so comfy. We have plenty of food. My van has issues but we take good care of her and she is paid for. Our critters bring lots of joy. Knowing that we have great kids, brings peace. 

I almost feel like a diamond these days. All those years that I thought I was not worthy because of what I didn’t have…I realize now that I was being prepared for the future. Today, I don’t feel like lots of people do. I don’t feel lost and scared. I feel prepared and ready for what this day holds. I know what it’s like to go without. I know that going without wants will NOT kill anyone. I know that for all the dark days that I thought I’d never get through, well I did.  I know that I am such a strong person today because of yesterday’s trials. I thought those days sucked so bad. I thought those days would never end. But here I am, all of these years later, shining, because I know that tough days made me tough, made me strong, made me who I am.  I may be rough around the edges but most diamonds are. I don’t need polishing and neither do you….our rough edges will get us through these coming days. I’m not worried. I’m gonna get that hot shower, dress in comfy worn out clothes, blow dry this unruly hair, put on my Wal-mart shoes, and dust off the crown I was given so many years ago but wasn’t prepared to wear. I’m ready to wear it now….

Shine bright like a Diamond…

 

Shine Bright, like a Diamond…

We see each other in the car rider line or at the grocery store. We work with each other. We are related to each other. We go to church with each other. We live in the same house…What do these things have in common? Mental illness, many times undiagnosed.

You see Her, she is put together well. By all accounts She is good. She takes good care of her appearance. Her hair is so beautiful. Her clothing always is a ten. Her skin is flawless. She is so good at her job. She posts perfect family pictures. She couldn’t possibly be depressed….

He is a student athlete. He excels at every sport. His determination and leadership is like no other that you have ever seen. This young man is indeed going places. He couldn’t possibly have such anxiety that his stomach stays in knots and he cries in the shower every night fearing he will fail.

She’s the girl with the piercings and the funky hair color. Everyone thinks she’s weird and steers clear of her because she looks like she’s ready to fight at all times. She’s just trying to find her way and doesn’t understand the feelings of worthlessness she is having.

He’s a strong, hard working Daddy. He provides for his family and is a picture of what a leader in the home should look like. His head is constantly worried about providing for the family and praying nothing breaks down until payday, if it ever gets here. He masks his depression and anxiety with lots of alcohol and pills if he can get them.

She’s the Mom of a special needs child. On most days she accepts that this is her life and makes the best of it. But on other days, she may break down when she drives past a ball field and becomes filled with both anger and sadness that her child will never play little league. She cries herself to sleep on the bad days and covers the bags under her eyes with make-up so that folks don’t know that she is struggling still mentally.

This lady has suffered a loss like no one should ever go through. Her daily life is grief. She don’t know how she will go on. She throws herself into working every job under the sun. She stays busy all day long and then collapses in a puddle of tears when night time comes.

He is the pillar of the community. He is in church every Sunday and Wednesday night. He volunteers for everything. He is the “go to” man. He will make it happen. He never says “No” for fear of letting someone down. This man suffers from anxiety big time. He keeps it all inside and it’s just festering. At times, this man wants to give up. He wants to run away from all of his responsibilities but he can’t. What would people say? So he bottles it up and prays for better days.

You thought of someone in at least one of these scenarios, didn’t you? I want to share with you that there is help. I always thought that mentally, I was as strong as they come. I had been through lots and kept a smile on my face and knew that better days were coming. Turns out my breaking point was caring for my mother with Alzheimer’s. I was not only depressed but I was so very mad. I stayed in fight or flight mode, ready to chew someone out or leave and cry. I got help. I needed help. I was helped.

I have recently helped a family member by taking them to Daymark in Stanly County. I was so very impressed by the kindness and empathy that they have for their clients. I encourage anyone who needs helps to get it. There is help. The hardest step is the first step.

You may be like me and your depression or anxiety is situational. I needed an antidepressant for one year, and then I weened myself off of it. When my situation got better, I got better.

I lean on my faith as most of you do. I believe that if we believe ,we can move mountains. But I also know that some folks are truly sick, walking around with a chemical imbalance that can lead to something horrific if not treated.

Lastly, I leave you with this. Damn this stigma! Dammit to Hell! You get help. You tell the doctor or clinician everything. Don’t think this will pass. Don’t think you’ll pray it away. If you have Cancer you get treatment. Imagine the depression or anxiety that you, your husband, your child, or your friend has…imagine it is now called Mental Cancer. Would you continue to ignore it if it had that label. Nope, you wouldn’t. Make that call today. If you need a friend to get this ball rolling, I will be your friend.

You are loved by many…please seek help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why is it still a Stigma?

I couldn’t sleep last night. I got up at one a.m and just stayed up. My shoulders feel heavy again and I can feel myself claiming every problem in the world as my own. I have a tendency to do that. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life making sure everyone in my life is happy and well. I say “yes” when I need to say “no.” I put things aside that I really would like to do, to please others. I still don’t have a paying job, which is contributing to my stress headaches and feelings of worthlessness. I know that I am depended on and much is expected from me. There are few things that I am in full control of and for the most part, it’s my body and my mind. I don’t take care of my body, I now weight more than I did when I was nine months pregnant. I have found way too much comfort in eating, and embarrassingly enough, drinking daily.  Yeah, I am not that wonderful person that you think I am. I am just an example of a broken person that God continues to use.

Mom’s Alzheimer’s is difficult for me, well all of us actually.  I need to visit her more than twice a week, but with no job, gas is a factor. Yesterday was hard, I held back my tears the whole visit because her legs hardly work anymore and it’s pretty much dead weight helping her to the bathroom. She doesn’t ask how I am, she ask who I am.  I cried all the way home because I need my momma…the one who would fix me a grilled cheese sandwich and Campbell’s tomato soup, and a cold bottle of  Coca-coley (as she called it.) Gah, that simple meal brought me such comfort on more than one occasion.  I am blessed with family but sometimes Mom is the only one who can make it better.

A couple of days ago, I remembered being tagged in a post about helping a family with a blessing basket. I responded “absolutely” and then I forgot, so this person did not get a basket. I have been so mad at myself because I should have written it down, and I did not.  I wish I could just flip a switch and not care, but I can’t. I definitely have my mom’s heart, which makes life beautiful and difficult at the same time.

Many of you are like me and have a life filled with disaster, grief, unhealthy habits, and money woes. Some days we must dig deep and find the beauty. It may be in the memories. It may be in the hope for the future. Sometimes, living in the present is the most difficult.  It is during those hard days that we must persevere.

*side note: I choose to be transparent because somebody needs to know that they are not alone. Social media will make you think your life is very sad, especially when you get a glimpse of what others have. We are all messed up. Problems in life cross all social barriers. It’s just that the higher up the financial ladder, the more closed lip they are. *

 

Transparency…

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people eager for money , have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  1 Timothy 6:10

I have always corrected people when they say that money is evil. I’d say “the love of money is evil.” But as I have gotten older, I realize that although we must have money to survive it is the cause of most of our grief. Just simply living today is so expensive. I said simply living. Simply living is no vacations, no shopping sprees, no nice restaurants…simply, living.  Now add limited groceries in the cabinet, kids that need money for field trips and lunch money, no gas in the car, a pet that needs to go to the vet, a hacking cough that needs prescription meds. You get the picture. Hard working families trying their best and it’s not enough. When the lack of money is the cause of most grief, here’s where evil arises. Husbands and wives get in heated arguments with no one to blame except money. Teenagers slam doors in frustration because they don’t understand why they can’t have what their friends do. Evil money. Families can’t even laugh because the strain of finances is like a black cloud following them everywhere they go. Once again, money…evil money.

The rich look down upon the poor, making them feel inferior because they are indeed, “the have nots” of the world. The evil money in the pockets of those at the top lead them to believe that they are God like. Those people can literally get out of heinous acts with no jail time and still be looked at like they are a king or queen. Celebrities and politicians are by far the worst. Thanks to evil money.

There are poor people sitting in jail right now over something stupid they did because of lack of money. Privileged people will look down on those folks saying “can’t do the time, don’t do the crime” when in fact, they have cheated the system working every loop hole to their advantage.

Privileged and rich go hand in hand. Most folks today didn’t get rich on their own. I said “most” there is always a few that put in the work.  Much of the privileged today have forgotten that they were born into the right name or the successful family business. Many of those folks just inherited old money and look down on others because they can. Everybody wasn’t given land to start their dream home. Everybody didn’t have a dad to support them and guide them. Some of us, no make that lots of us, are doing the best we can with the cards that were dealt to us.

Money is evil. There are sick people not getting treatment today because of money. There are kids living in dilapidated homes on the wrong side of the tracks because of money. There are middle school kids being taunted because of their clothing because of money. There are homeless people sleeping on sidewalk benches because of money. There are people overdosing and dying because their family couldn’t afford treatment.

Evil money runs our world. It runs our lives. It keeps our power on. It keeps our cars running. It keeps a roof over our head. It buys the groceries. It keeps our kids looking good. It keeps our hair looking nice. It keeps us addicted to drugs and alcohol. On most days, this evil money determines how we feel. If you are like me, when payday comes, you’re in a really good mood. But when it’s days before payday and you’re trying to rob Peter to pay Paul, you aren’t so kind. The traffic makes you furious, the person buying the lottery ticket in front of you taking too long makes you enraged. All of those feelings, started with evil money. Let’s face it, if I have a big fat bank account I couldn’t care less how many lottery tickets you buy. But that old evil money will fire us up into fighting mode, cuss like a sailor, and chew out anyone in our way.

What do we do about this evil money in our lives? As for me, I’m going to keep trying my best and believe that God will always provide when I don’t see a way.  I’m thinking that every time we choose to find joy and we take what little money we have to bless others that the devil feels a kick in the gut. I want the devil to shake his head and be like “dang, I tried to break her down and she keeps coming back for more.” There’s an old heavy metal song and the words are “is that all you got, take your best shot!” Well Satan, if all you got for me is evil money to destroy my hopes, my dreams, and my family then you my enemy, have lost once again.

I change my stance, money isn’t evil. It’s the people at the top holding the money making decisions about our cost of living and healthcare. It’s the people who turn a blind eye to those in need. It’s those who have the most and give the least. That is what’s evil.

Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. … The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. — Proverbs 22:9. Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.

Money is Evil…

I always wanted to be “that Mom.” You know, that Mom that has it all together. That mom who’s kids are sparkly clean. That mom who has her kids active in every sport. That mom who has her kid’s name embroidered on book bags, hats, shirts, etc.. That mom who’s son has every piece of brand name baseball equipment. That mom who has her little girl in gymnastics and cheer. That mom who matched her outfit with her daughter’s.  That mom who makes sure her kid’s projects are state fair worthy. That mom who treats her kids to a shopping trip for a good report card or a trip to Pizza Hut for a home run. That mom who plans fun outings and play dates with other children who have “that Mom” as a parent. That mom who’s children have the room that everything matches, complete with a little desk to work at. That mom, boy she has it all. I so wanted to be her but here’s what kind of mom I was…

I didn’t have it together, I didn’t know a lot about being a mom. I knew what I did have though, and that was love.  I showered my babies with love. I kissed on them and hugged them and told them how wonderful they were. But deep down, oh my goodness, I wanted to be Her, that Mom. We signed our son up for t-ball at 4 and I found a glove at a yard sale for a whooping .50!  You see back then the kids shared bats and helmets so all he needed was a glove. Then my little girls, oh my goodness, I was going to be “that Mom” with them. I was going to make it happen. They were going to be the cutest with the cutest hair and everything matching, just pure cuteness. Well, they were pretty darn cute. I found them adorable outfits at yard sales and I’d fix their beautiful long locks. I never was a bow Mom though. The thought of a rubber band around my daughter’s head all day just because it matched her outfit was ridiculous.  I would always feel the inside of their clothing and if I thought it would be uncomfortable they didn’t wear it. I ripped out all tags and because I wasn’t “that Mom” sometimes I made a hole in their outfit because I was so unorganized I couldn’t find scissors. Ironically, one of my daughter’s found the scissors once and sawed off her whole ponytail, about 11 inches. (Nope, not “that mom!”)  Both of my girls took gymnastics, briefly.  Gymnastics is not for those who struggle to make ends meet. I found that they could do cart wheels in the back yard for free. They got over it, as most kids do, who don’t have “that Mom.” When I had $5 to spare, we’d high tail it to Mickey D’s, nothing wrong with 4 people sharing one drink, we family!!! Playing with the neighborhood kids and climbing the big tree in our yard was a huge hit and the best thing was, it was free! The kid’s room was a mixture of yard sale crap and “hand me downs” from family. Which it didn’t really matter because they ended up in our bed anyway. Oh, I forgot about class projects. Omagaaaah, I always let my kids do their own thing, they never had over the top projects but they did it. I will always remember the one time I helped one of them with a project and actually got a failing grade. Nope, I was not “that Mom!”

Guess what? Today, I have two grown kids and one in high school and I’m still not “that Mom.” So when I see young mom’s posting all the things that makes them “that Mom” I want to say this…

Stop wearing yourself out and your kid. It’s okay if your kid does not play a travel sport. It’s okay if your daughter does not take gymnastics. It’s okay that you don’t take them to Disney World. It’s okay that your child’s initials are not on every item they own. It’s okay if  your daughter doesn’t have a bow on at all times. It’s okay if the school pictures come back and your kid has pop-tart all over her mouth.

You see what I have learned in my 26 years of parenting is this: It was I who wanted so badly to be “that Mom,” my children were only looking for “their Mom.” Just be “their Mom” and love them, protect them, and give them all the confidence in the world. When they are grown, they won’t recall that their name was written with a sharpie on their book bag or that their first ball glove was from a yard sale. Those things won’t matter. All that will matter is that you were “their Mom”….

“That Mom”…

Can you get some cash or no? Do you have enough gas to make it to payday? Can you get some milk? Are we out of toilet paper? Did you pay satellite? Is the internet off? Does she have lunch money? Did you get my medicine?

The working poor have those questions more often than not. The other day I asked my daughter if she knew what the working poor was. She said “yes, it means you work but have just enough to pay the bills with nothing left over.” I said “true, but many times there isn’t enough to pay all the bills.” I know we aren’t alone in the “working poor world.” It’s frustrating when you fall into this category because there is no help or breaks. This category makes just over the line to receive any assistance but still gets burned up on taxes. This category doesn’t even qualify for reduced kids lunch because it is just a smidge over. (Who can afford almost $3 a day for a kid’s lunch?)  This category makes life difficult because there’s no free groceries, there’s no free healthcare and being sick and missing work isn’t an option.

My husband will often say “everybody’s broke, just on different levels.” He ain’t lying. I used to have a green with envy streak that run down deep to my soul. Thankfully, my jealousy for what others have left me. You may be struggling to pay $500 rent but I promise someone is struggling to pay a $1800 mortgage. You may be struggling to put gas in your beater, but someone in struggling to put gas in their brand new SUV.  You are not the only one that pays a bill knowing the bank is going to charge you $36 because the money wasn’t there. You know that being negative is better than having no power or being stuck on the side of the road out of gas.

This is life for so many of us but guess what? It’s okay!  Yesterday when I told my husband that I hope to hear something about a job this week, he said, “I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and you keep doing what you’re doing, and we’ll be okay.” Yep, we will be okay and you will too. Pull out $20 on payday and go get pizza or go eat with your friends. If I have learned anything it’s this, “$20 won’t make or break you.” I’m realizing everyday that we are all in this together. The working poor isn’t a rare breed. It’s single parents, it’s blue collar workers, it’s teachers, it’s healthcare workers, it’s your friends.  If I have learned anything about the working poor it’s that they are the most giving, caring, loving individuals you’ll ever meet.

So when you see someone and you wonder how in the world they have it all, look no further, they don’t….

It’s just…The Elephant in the Room!

The Elephant in the Room

As Christmas approaches I always begin to stress. I mean stress big time. I start counting down the paydays we have left wondering how in the world we are gonna get through yet another Christmas….

When did it happen? When did Christmas become work and stress? When was it exactly that we forgot the real meaning of Christmas? Why have we turned the beautiful, joyous occasion of celebrating Jesus into anxiety and stress?

Looking back through the years, remembering all the Christmases we couldn’t get our kids much, because we were trying to buy gifts for everyone in our family. We were trying to buy gifts for so many people who didn’t even need our pitiful, little gifts of nothing. I wish I would have been the person then that I am now. I wish I would have said “listen, we don’t have much money and what we have we are going to spend on our kids.” But I didn’t do that. I would stretch our money as far as I could and then watch as the recipient of the small gift we gave shoved it quickly back in the bag, because it wasn’t even worthy of a “thank you.”

With my mom having Alzheimer’s and barely knowing my name, I look back on the many Christmases with her. I can only remember a few gifts she gave me through the years. There was a teddy bear, which I still have, although missing a leg. There was the speed skates with the neon green wheels, I loved them so much. Honestly, I cannot remember anything else. I just remember she was this amazing cook. She could make a Jello cheesecake (covered in cherries) taste like it was fit for a king. You see those gifts no longer matter, they are forgotten. But what is not forgotten is the love that I remember all those years of Christmases.

I’m bringing back the real Christmas this year for us. Of course our children and grandson will have some gifts, but I am approaching things differently. I want folks to see the love of Christ in my gifts and in me. I want to give gifts from my heart. Because I have been there, I understand. I get it. I know what a blessing it is to receive groceries and toiletries as a gift. That was probably one of my most favorite gifts given to me, because it blessed my whole family. Homemade gifts are so beautiful and from the heart. I will be giving lots of gifts this year but they won’t be material gifts that came from Wal-mart or Amazon. (Well, okay a few will, I gotta take care of little guy!) Your gift may be a picture that I  colored, or a jar full of candy bars, or some delicious cookies that I baked, or a framed picture that I took. It won’t have monetary value but I can assure you, it was given with love. Isn’t that Christmas? Love?

If you are struggling to make ends meet, you tell folks “I must take care of my children, I cannot buy any gifts for adults.” You don’t have to apologize for not giving gifts to grown ups. If someone gives you a gift and you don’t have one for them just tell them how much you appreciate it. Thank you goes a really long way these days, add a hug and you’re golden.

If you are in a position to bless others, please do so. If your Christmas consists of buying so many gifts for your kids that they are overwhelmed, then the real meaning of Christmas has been lost.

Let this year be the year that we bring back Christmas. Let’s count our blessings. Let’s love our family. Let’s laugh. Let’s bake. Let’s make memories…

(In my best Justin Timberlake: “I’m bringing Christmas back, YEAH!”)

I’m bringing Christmas back…

Surely, he was loved. Surely, his mother nursed him as a baby and sang lullabies. Surely, he was a precious little boy who loved to play outside and climb trees and throw rocks.

Last night I kept waking up every couple hours thinking of the homeless man that my friend, Craig shared about. I’ve never met this man but what I do know is that he was once a baby. He was once a little boy. He was once a teenager. I can’t help but to wonder just what happened. Was it a small family that died out and he had no one? Was he abused as a child? Was he a wild teenager who got addicted to drugs? What happened that led him to homelessness?

I woke up this morning and had tears running down my face for this man that I’ve never laid eyes on. How have I been so selfish in wanting material things through the years when this man doesn’t even have a bed to sleep on. I take for granted when I have a migraine that I can take medicine and go lay in my bed in the quiet. I take for granted the relief when my stomach is tore up that I have a bathroom of my own to go use. I take for granted that my clothes are clean and that I shower every single morning. I take for granted that I have hot coffee brewing every morning to start my day. I take for granted a freezer full of ice for my sweet tea on a hot day, not to mention all the food. I take for granted a vehicle to take me to the grocery store and doctor appointments. I take for granted the fact that if something happened and I had nothing, I have many people that I can call on.

I can remember in the past driving in Charlotte and seeing someone holding a sign that said “homeless” and I was like “oh my gah, get a job!” But now, as I have become wiser I see things differently. How many folks are going to hire a man who is unclean and smells? Let’s be truthful, how many of us are where we are today because we got some assistance from family? How many of us excelled in school because we had parents cheering for us? How many of us have gotten assistance but have forgotten and deem these homeless people unworthy and useless? My husband often says “we’re one paycheck away from being homeless.” I laugh and say “we are not!” But could you imagine? Think if you had no family, no friends, and you lost your job. The bills keep coming. The bill collectors don’t care that you’re trying to find work. The bank will take your home and your car. Now you’re homeless, no car, no job, who ya calling? You don’t have family, you are now in a place you thought you’d never be….

I can’t imagine the thoughts that must run through a homeless person’s head every night. The uncomfortable sleeping arrangements, the hot or cold of the night, the insects, the feeling of hopelessness. Every day must feel the same. Do they find joy in anything? Do they find discarded cigarette butts and smoke? Do they search for food in the trash can? Do they steal and take that money to buy food or a 40 ounce? What is a day in their life like? I can’t even fathom the dirty looks and comments they must receive on the daily. My heart aches for those that are forgotten by so many.

I’m saddened that I take so many things for granted and I am going to try my best to walk in the shoes of others.

We are called to love on the unlovable. This man is loved by God and surely, there’s room in our hearts to love him too…

 

Love the unlovable…

Growing up I don’t really remember being complimented. I’m sure someone did  but nothing really stands out. I remember different people making note that I had gained weight which is like one of the worst things you can say to a child or anyone for that matter. Once I walked into a gathering and someone actually said to me “look how much weight you’ve put on, what are you eating?” Then everyone laughed.  (I was a child, a child.) I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. Why didn’t someone come to my rescue? I remember when I started getting bumps on my face around 12 and a family member said “you need to do something about those bumps, wash your face or something.” That hurt so bad and I carried that with me for a long time as a teen. After I was in the car wreck at 14, I had someone say to me “you look really rough.” I had another person say to me “your face is gonna be scarred for life.” I was 14, I was a child. I carried those words like weights with me for years. I’ve been humiliated by folks who spoke to me like a child because of what I didn’t have. I’ve tried to fit into conversations where it was clear that I wasn’t welcomed. All I ever wanted was to fit in somewhere. I never really fit in anywhere so I turned my sadness into jokes. I’d laugh loudest about my weight and bring it up first. I’d cringe when someone forty pounds lighter than me started talking about their weight and what size pants they wore. I’d turn it into a joke because that’s what I do. If you laugh loudest, you’ll drown out those tears. Ugh, why are women such bitches?

Fast forward to today. I’m a grown ass adult woman. I don’t have to be around anyone who makes me feel less than the awesome person that I am. I don’t have to be around anyone who builds themselves up by putting down others. I don’t have to be around anyone who can’t stop bragging about what they have.

I am a star that will never fit in with those squares. I’m okay with that now. For all you ladies, don’t ever let anyone steal your joy. You are beautiful. You are unique. You are loved. There is so much more to each one of you than the size of your ass or your bank account.

You be confident. You stand tall, even if you’re 5 foot nothing. You smile even if your teeth aren’t gleaming white. You wear that swimsuit that someone said was a “no-no” for you. You wear those jeans that hug your hips. You go get that funky haircut that you don’t think you can pull off. You wear your red lipstick. You go get that tattoo. You go get a manicure or a pedicure. It’s time that you love you.

Let’s quit being bitches and become ladies. Let’s compliment. Let’s hug. Let’s send cards. Let’s have lunch. Let’s find strength in each other’s company. No more competition. No more fat shaming. No more “look at me, look at me.”

I’m inviting any lady interested to come sit at my table….

Come sit at my table…