Friday, August 21, 2015

The Best of Me and More...

Okay.... so THIS was the post I was supposed to write last time. I think that awesome Jen Sincero post was just processing through my brain so much that it processed it's way right into my writing. That's ok. The last post was definitely all truth and absolutely my heart and soul. And hey... I even discovered a life changing perspective. It's literally "all good"!

But the original point I was attempting to make was more about my new lease on life being connected to the life I have lived for the past twenty seven years. It is true that my brush with a concerning mammogram has made me bring life to a new level of awareness. But, that is not to say that I have not been living the life I've wanted to live for these three decades. Marriage and mothering truly are my core desires, dreams, realities, and treasures. I have enjoyed living out this dream come true with all of my being. It has been a blessing, a joy, and a privilege. And, I'm still in the midst of it.

It is, however, time to leave the "ors" behind and progress to the "ands" as I wrote about in my last post. It is time for all of me to enter the picture. It's no secret that it takes a lot of sacrifice to enjoy a blissful marriage and to raise happy, healthy, well-balanced children to adulthood. There are times when it can mean losing a little bit of yourself along the way. My family has been awesome about helping me to retain just enough to never feel abandoned. I could have taken more. They have always been my biggest cheerleaders. But I am what I am and that is totally, head over heels devoted to each and every one of them, and our family as a whole.

When the time comes, you know it. My body is at the end of this fertility thing. The medications I am on for my arthritis make it impossible for me to have another baby. Some of my children are adults. Some are teenagers. One is a pre-teen to the maximus. And one... well, he'll be my baby forever. But that's another story. ;)

As I was downloading photos from my camera to the laptop the other day, I was gushing over each of my sweethearts, and the qualities about each that drives me crazy, and keeps me in awe of them. I smiled as I saw their dad in each of them. And I was proud to see some of my strengths in them as well. Oh, the weaknesses got passed down to. But those can all get tweaked into positives if they're willing to work with it. ;)

I thought about how I would like to have more of each of them in me. And I reflected on what parts of me I like in each of them. Those are the parts I want to work on more in me.




I actually wrote a lot about each one of them, and those qualities I mentioned earlier. Then, I thought, maybe it's best not to be so detailed. It was a good exercise for me though. I learned a lot about myself and the relationship I have with each one of them. I really like them a lot, and I hope that the day will come when they can look back on life, and feel the same way about me. They do inspire me to be the best me I can be, not only for them now, but as an example to them for their own future. I want them to become the person they were each created to be and live life to the fullest.

These 27 years have been the best of my life. I look forward to the next chapter being even better!!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Trading "ors" for "ands"... and some other stuff...

My children.

They are the heart and soul of me.

I loved them when I was a child.

I know that sounds impossible.

But I did.

And my husband too.

But I gush about him enough. ;)

I remember when I was a little girl... pretending... dreaming... longing to be a mommy. Maybe it was because I loved my own mom so much. I don't know. But what I do know is that from the time I was very tiny, I wanted to be a wife and a mommy. Once I entered school, teachers would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would always answer, "A mom." And... I would always get asked again, more specifically what career I wanted. I would have to search my mind and soul right there in that moment.... MOMMY was yelling out of every fiber of my being from my hair to my toes... but knowing what the teacher wanted, I would struggle for the "right" answer.... "Ummm..." "Uhhh..." "A teacher!"  or... "A writer." Or the word "Lawyer" even came out a few times. Ewwww..... lawyer? Really? (No offense to any of my lawyer friends, not that I know of any I actually have) but that was NEVER something I ever actually desired to be. I just knew I was smart, and the teachers expected me to say something smart. So I did. And they were happy and moved on.

In the meantime, the horror movie rebel in me was silently chanting.... "I lied to get you to move on. Because I'm smart. BUT I REALLY WANT TO BE A MOMMY!!!! A MOMMY!!! A MOMMY!!!"

Yep. I remember it like yesterday. It would be hard to forget as it repeated itself at least once a year. Every year. It got uglier as the years went on. My inner rebel enjoyed a good debate as I got older. Most of my teachers did not. Especially my liberal, free thinking, feminist teachers. (No offense to any of my liberal, free thinking, feminist friends, of which I have many.} Even as a young girl it amazed me that these ladies were champions of my right to be whatever I dreamed of being. Unless of course, what I dreamed of being was... a wife... and a mommy. It bothered me that they were close minded about my right to be a wife and mommy if that's what I wanted. But in their point of view, I had obviously been brainwashed to be a submissive self-denying waif by my full-time working, artist, progressive mom who made me watch Vietnam War news stories before kindergarten, and read magazine articles on sexual enlightenment when I got my first zit. Her ultimate marriage advice to me when I was a ripe old 9 was from one of Mick Jagger's wife. Mom had read it in a People Magazine, no doubt.... "Be a kitten in the kitchen and a tiger in the bedroom." Not bad advice actually. But that's not the point. And I am glad to have met feminist friends who DO champion my right and choice to be a wife and mommy. It's a new world, folks!

The point is... My desire to be a wife and a mother came from deep within. It was/is part of my very creation. It's like looking at the blue sky, as far as the eye can see, and thinking it is beautiful. It just "is". It's the part of me that would never have been fulfilled by any other love, by any other gift, by any other means. I love my art. I love my writing. Those MUST come out of me. But even those are not the same. Sometimes my husband asks how I can love him so much, and my only answer is that my heart was created to love him. I just said it one day because I didn't know how else to say it. But that's it, isn't it? I could have been happy with another life. I think I would have been a good wife to any man I married. But my heart is home with him. I knew it the first time we held each other. And it was the same with each child. Each one was the one I had waited for all my life. Each one is THE love of my life. Each one fills a part of my heart only for that one. Yet each one fills my whole heart.

How does one explain that?

One doesn't.

But, this brings me to point B...

We often have a "base" desire... a longing to be or do something central to our being, which is connected to other desires, which are equally "us" yet do not tug at our soul quite so strongly... until... it's time. I have always been creative. Art, writing, and drama have always been a part of my every day existence. I was not the natural classic artist that some of my high school contemporaries were, so I didn't quite think that an artist career was for me. And somehow I always ended up in humanities classrooms instead of creative writing classes. I could write for hours about how the school system betrayed me and overlooked my talents and desires, constantly testing me and deciding I was dreaded librarian status. (No offense to any librarian friends, of which I know I have at least one talented and beloved.) But quiet and cataloguing were what I would have considered among my nightmares, not my dreams.

But... isn't this something??? Just now. Right now.... this minute... while writing this blog post I realized something! What if I was being saved? You see as much as I resent that my guidance counselors forced me to take advanced academics classes rather than attend pottery at the voc school, which would have actually prepared me for a dream career..... If... If I had taken classic art classes and creative writing classes, I may have succumbed to the syndrome of becoming a clone of my teacher at the cost of my own creative spirit. Now... mind you, I am not opposed to formal education in all circumstances. It has it's place. I want my brain surgeon to have a doctorate. I want my architect to understand weight bearing distribution. And yes... a little extra grammar and punctuation wouldn't hurt my writing skills. I will get to that before I finish the novel... I promise.

Can I be candid? Dear Lord, don't let my daughter read my blog... I liked my daughter's singing style better before she got her music degree. I remember her telling me about her various vocal coaches at school. It was obvious to me that they were trying to put her... or KEEP HER in her place. THEY were the teacher, and the student was NOT going to surpass them in talent or performance. It was an ego thing. I didn't press it. My daughter pronounces things very well now. She still sings like an angel. But a bit of her "edge" was trimmed off.  My younger daughter still has lots of edge. She does not pronounce every single word correctly. I pray she never gets a music degree.

I have also listened to many artist friends share about how they left art school. Or maybe they got that degree, but sold a bit of their creative soul to get it. That is not always the case. And thankfully, many artists and singers work hard to forget 90% of what they learned in college to go on and express themselves wholeheartedly in their work, and find great personal and professional success. I have friends who have writing degrees who write stuff I cannot bring myself to finish reading. And I have amateur friends whose writing entertains and delights to no end.

By no means is there an absolute here. But in the spirit of always looking on the bright side, I am going to err with destiny being on my side. I have read time and time again that successful people do not complain or look for excuses. So, rather than blame my late start on the academic system of my youth, I shall focus on fate stepping in, and keeping me 100% original... like a fine wine... I have been aging, and waiting for that perfect moment to be enjoyed by those who would appreciate the full body and intoxicating spirit. ;)

Okay.... Okay.... this was about babies, right? Or Mommying? Or was it about dreams, and what I wanted to be when I grow up.

Here's what this whole story boils down to. I just read an awesome article about "ands" instead of "ors" over at Jen Sincero's blog. It really nails it. (read awesome article here). And I have realized that NOW is that time to trade my "ors" in for "ands" when it comes to my dreams of family AND creativity. Those two sides have existed side by side within me for most of my life. Family was always the stronger pull. And I have certainly given my family 100% of me for a very long time. I have dabbled with my creative dreams for a long time, and enjoyed some success. But... It. Is. Time.

My babies are not babies anymore. My sweet littlest guy just turned 6. He is working on his black belt for crying out loud! If he can be a ninja warrior at the age of 6, then mommy can paint that painting, and write that book! Heck... we can do it all together. Because I want him to see that you don't have to wait until you're all grown up to be what you want to be. And you don't have to have it all figured out at 6, or 16, or 26. There may even be times when one dream rightfully takes center stage... where it belongs and is cherished. But, there comes a time when your "ors" have to be traded in for "ands" or your dreams will become "if onlys".
So class... Today we learned that I wanted to be a mommy more than anything. I have issues with formal education. And I am still working through things, and figuring out my own life. LOL! I am glad that after all these years I am still learning things about me, and open to seeing my same old story a band new way. My schooling formation will no longer be my excuse for not starting sooner. It will be the miracle that kept my art and writing purely me.... for better or for worse.

Thus begins a new lease on life, moving forward with new eyes! No excuses. Facing fears. Trading in my "ors" for "ands". I am a wife & mother AND an artist & writer!!! I like it. Thanks God. Thanks Jen. Thanks sucky providential education system. I'm not perfect. I'm still growing. And growing beats dying any day.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Good News!

I am overjoyed to report that yesterday's appointment left me feeling like I could take a deep sigh of relief and begin this new chapter with a much lighter heart. All went well. It turns out I have a water cyst, which is very common, and can come and go.

But here's the thing... As I left the ultrasound room, and felt like I was walking on a cloud all the way back to the waiting room to retrieve my clothing from the locker. But the moment I walked in to that room, I was overcome with pinches of guilt, compassion, and even grief for all of the women in that room, and all of the women who are no longer here because of this horrible disease. There was one woman in particular who appeared to already know the worst when she arrived. My heart broke for her. I wanted to wrap them all in my arms, and say, "We all get a free pass today!" I wanted to take them all with me, and celebrate only good news. But without counting, it was obvious by the number of women in the room that the statistics were against us all getting good news. I didn't want to turn my back on them and walk away. But, I couldn't wait to enter the main waiting room and flash a big smile for my husband to know everything was ok... for us. I smiled at the ladies who were smiling back... a silent good bye. And I lingered, making eye contact with the woman who seemed  very somber. I wanted her to know that I felt her fear, and that she was not alone. Then... I left.

As my husband and I walked out of the building, into the bright sunny afternoon, we were practically skipping. He was asking what I wanted to do, expecting my desire for tonight's dinner and movie. I was thinking more along the lines of books to be written and art workshops in Italy. But just holding his hand was enough. And dinner was great.

But somehow the celebration was bittersweet. Although I have this renewed appreciation for each and every moment, and I am so very thankful to have gotten good news, I will never forget my sisters in that waiting room... and all the others. I will celebrate with all my heart. But now and forever, my heart carries them with me. It's a strange thing, isn't it? Kind of like a soldier returning from war. I am soooooo glad to be alive. I am more fully alive than ever before, and glad for it. But there is that tug. That knowledge. That brush with something so many dread and fear. I know I'm being overly dramatic here. That's me. But I almost feel responsible to not forget, and to do more with my life as so many wished they could, but never had the chance. Crazy? I guess. But... that's me. And I will do my best to honor those women through my work and my love. Most especially, my own mom, who lost her life to cancer. She was too young. And she left too many dreams still dreams.

Here's to waking up...

Friday, August 14, 2015

Be The Light

Part of me feels like I shouldn't be writing this. But there is a part of me that wants to journal it raw, and before it is affected by any further news. It is real. It is me, right now... today, and for the last two weeks.

I went for a routine mammogram about 3 weeks ago. Well... truth be told it was my first mammogram, which... I had been putting off for 9 years. It wasn't intentional. Some years I was pregnant. Some years I was nursing. I even ran straight over to the radiology department after my annual appointment one year to get it done. But... I couldn't guarantee that I wasn't pregnant. So, I left to return the next month. But, as always happens in my life... month turned into month... turned into years. Thus, at the age of 49, I just had my first mammogram.

The technician told me more than once not to panic if I got a phone call in the next week. She said that, especially on the first mammogram, anything slightly out of the ordinary requires some follow up scans in order to create a base line for the future. What's normal for one woman, may not be for another, etc. So... I left feeling fairly carefree. I got it. Made sense.

One whole week passed, and I felt a relief of underlying anxiety that I didn't even realize was there. A few more days passed, and I felt home free. PHEW.

Then. The. Phone. Rang.

"This is Rhode Island Imaging."

My heart sank before I could even process anything she was saying.

This was the typical call back the technician had warned me about. She didn't say anything about ultrasounds as well. But... that's ok. I'm a big girl. This is all normal. Then my heart sank a little deeper. The lady on the phone told me that the radiologist was concerned about something questionable on the left side. The. Left. Side. I hadn't told anyone, not even my husband, about pain I had been having on my left side. Pain that was still there. Pain that is still there as I type. No lumps, or anything. And I do my monthly manual exam. I have since I was about 10, when my mom first taught me. No lumps. No change. Just some pain, which I assumed was from my evil underwire.

I have to confess, that I was shaken. I didn't want to be. I felt ridiculous. I am the queen of positive attitude. But, then I had to remind myself that being positive, and choosing happiness does not mean that you ignore your feelings. It means you allow them, process them, and keep moving forward, choosing happiness. So, I teeter tottered between feeling the sun's rays emanating from my heart of positive enlightenment to planning how I would tell my children, and writing a letter to my husband's future wife. I also was slightly pissed that my dreads have not yet grown out to their full gorgeousness, and I might lose them all, after 17 months of dealing with their goofy stages.

Oy. Me. So imperfect. So fragile. So afraid.

But, even in the midst of that uncertainty, I kept choosing happiness. I keep choosing to not fear... to not lose one day of this life to anything in my imagination.

This is the test isn't it? All of the moments in life when you exercise what you believe... faith, philosophy, etc. It all comes down to what you do when the real trials hit. And here I am... still in limbo... still choosing happiness. I grasp at all kinds of things. But, in the end, all that matters is being who I want to be the mother of my children. They know I am imperfect. And we all get quite a few laughs over that. But I want them to see that it is possible to choose happiness no matter what. I want them to see that EVERY DAY is precious. Not just the good ones. Not just the sunshiny ones. EVERY ONE.

So... I prepare now to leave for my scans. I have lots of prayers in my heart. I have a few fears in my brain. But... I leave knowing that whatever the outcome, I am always on the road of becoming the me I was created to be. I know that all things, good and bad, mold us. I know that every twist and turn renews the journey.

The thing I have most learned in these past two weeks is that I waste too much time on fear. I don't take the creative chances I should take. I hold back. WHAT AM I WAITING FOR??? This is it, chickie-poo!!! This is the only life here on earth you've got. DO IT!!! Isn't that what I'm always saying I would tell the 20 year old me if I could? Well, the 70 year old me is telling the 49 year old me to stop messing around, dig deep and JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And with that... I face today. And tomorrow. With the hope that I will remember the lesson. And that I will remember when times seem dim. I am the light I am looking for.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

My Babiest Girl...

This child...

When I look at her, I feel healing. I was pregnant for her when I learned I would lose my mother in 3 months. It was this baby growing inside that gave me all the strength and comfort I needed. When I learned I had lost our baby, Gabriel, my first thought was getting home to hold my sweet baby girl. When I learned we would lose our home, she snuggled me, and said. "Mommy, Wherever You Are Is My Home." She has been my smile on every cloudy day, and reminded me to... celebrate all the moments, big and small.
Of all my children, she "looks" the most vulnerable. But, boy, oh boy, looks could not be more deceiving. This girl jumps in head first, and is the first to try anything new. She makes 10 new best friends within moments of entering any room. She is smart, strong, and confident. She is our party girl. But, she is also deeply sensitive, generous, and appreciative. 

Where did 10 years go? She is growing up too fast for my heart to catch up to her. But I hope she knows, it's always hers.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It's THAT Simple...

Have you ever seen a beautiful photo with an inspirational quote on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Yes, that is a redundant question. Given the fact that you are visiting a blog, I would assume you are very familiar with the memes and visual inspirations flooding the world wide web.

So, this will be familiar to you as well.... Sometimes it's the first comment... Sometimes it's the second or third. But somewhere.... somewhere in that photo's description will ivevitably be the comment, "If only it were that easy", or "It's not that simple". Right in the midst of all of the "ooooing" and "ahhhing" comments, the cynic appears. Some of us wonder if this person exists to paruse facebook in search of blissful encouragement, just to pull the rug out from under everyone. Some of us relate. And some of us remember when we were that cynic.

I think I know where that denial of simplicity comes from. It is founded in a characteristic I am particularly adapt at... stubbornness. There was a time in my life when I was so stubborn I would "cut my nose off to spite my face" AND "throw the baby out with the bath water" in every scenario.  Not sure those both apply. But my mom said them, so we're going with it.

The point is.... I would rather suffer than admit what I had believed was wrong. If google had existed when I was 13, I may have become a nicer person sooner. But back in the day, I was born knowing everything, and would fight to the emotional death before conceding. My daughter has inherited that flaw.... or strength... depending upon whether or not she agrees with me ;)  But, thanks to google, she is pretty nice about it.

I think the "it's not that simple" mentality was born in me the day my mom brushed off a relative's declaration that my mom and dad could move to the country. We were all visiting my aunt and uncle in the Berkshires. My mom LOVED it there. So did I. It was my mom's every fantasy... to live in the country, with overflowing antique gardens, crackle glass in every window, walking barefoot to the local watering hole. To mom, it was heaven on earth. As she shared about how much she loved it, my aunt said, "You and Frank should move up here, Carol."

On the ride home, when I asked mom why we couldn't move there, my mom explained that "it's not that simple." She explained how my uncle was a college professor. She told me only people with those kinds of jobs could live so far away from the inner cities, where there was more blue collar work. I just accepted that. I understood that my dad was a mechanic, and his work was closer to home. What I didn't think of at the ripe old age of 7, was that people in the Berkshires drove cars too.

I also didn't think to argue that my uncle, the professor, also coached hockey to increase income. Oh... and his wife, my beloved aunt was a waitress at the local pub!!! As a child, my mother's argument had convinced me that my relatives were wealthier than us, and their privilege afforded them to live a dream life. As an adult, I see that my aunt and uncle worked their butts off for what they had. As an adult, I can appreciate that my aunt and uncle sacrificed a lot to live the way that they wanted to. As an adult, I can appreciate that there are people who will choose a life, and find whatever means they can to make it work. And there are people who will accept any excuse on earth to say... "It's not that simple."

Life changes. My uncle had a massive heart attack at the age of 42, and died.

I can barely absorb it after all these years.

But, he and my aunt left so many lessons on my heart. First of all, my uncle did what he loved. He taught. And he coached. And he raised his 3 kids in the country. Second, it takes work to live a fantasy. A LOT of work. Third, My aunt was open to love again, and has had many amazing years with her second husband. She became a teacher. She provided for her kids. She continued to live her dreams, even with a piece of her heart broken off forever. And I suppose a third lesson was driven home as well. Don't smoke!!! That's all I'll say about that one.

My aunt really is the inspiration in this story. Many people think it's only easy because of privilege or position, etc. Many people think that folks who live their dream life are lucky. My dear aunt lost her dear husband at a very young age... and one of her daughters years later. If anyone knows heartache, it is my aunt. If anyone knows devastating loss, it's my aunt. If anyone knows starting over, it's my aunt. Yet, if you met her today, you would never know of the wounds, because her scars are beautiful. They are beautiful because when it would have been so easy to accept life being over, she chose perseverance. They are beautiful because when she had ever reason to embrace bitterness, she chose love, and life, and happiness.

It is THAT simple.

Oh... does that mean easy? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes it's the hardest thing in the world. I am sure her heart still aches for her daughter. I am sure she still remembers the pain of losing her first husband. But she has chosen to keep moving, keep loving, keep living. I am sure there have been some hard days in there. But, last year, I smiled when I saw her younger daughter posting photos of her European vacation with mom. There was my aunt, smiling from ear to ear, enjoying life to the fullest. Her husband doesn't like to travel anymore. She went without him! LOL. perfect.

When some people experience loss, they wither and withhold the pain of loving again. My aunt knows first hand how short life can be, how quickly it can be over. So, she lives it fuller than most people I have ever known.
Hmmmmm.... This wasn't supposed to be a story about my dear aunt and uncle. But I can't imagine a story that could explain my point better.

I was once a person who believed "it's not that simple" and people who thought it was were out of touch. Then, I tried it. I listened to successful people. I listened to happy people. I realized that the number one difference between me and them was choice. And when you embrace a choice, exercise it daily, and commit to it fully, it becomes the portal to what it is your heart seeks.

It is THAT simple.

Monday, May 18, 2015

I wish I could see what You see in me...

Often, we are so busy trying to discover the secret of life that we forget to live. Often, we are so busy trying to discover the secrets to the universe that we forget we are floating in the midst of it. Often, we are so busy trying to discover the secrets of heaven, that we forget it is already upon us, before us... within us.

THIS IS IT! Right here. Right now. And there are no secrets.
If I had a nickel for every time I have heard a person say that they feel like someone on the outside looking in, I would be filthy rich. If I had a nickel for every time I have felt that way... I would be richer still. But, I am catching on.

I have always been a people watcher. My mind works like a scrapbook. Even as a young child, I would take emotional snapshots of moments that I knew would become special memories someday. Many people separate the human population into leaders and followers. I used to see it more as "doers" and "observers". And those two things did not necessarily stand void of each other. I was one of those who observed even as I was doing. And I did a lot. I was a joiner. A joiner who feels like an outsider? Yes. I was a joiner, who was also an extrovert, who also happened to feel like I didn't belong. As I aged, I thought I had that all figured out. I realized that not fitting in and feeling like an outsider wasn't necessarily a bad thing. To me, it meant that I was truly living my faith, and living as a pilgrim, just passing through. Part of that is true. I have attempted throughout most of my adult life to live in this world but not be "of" it.

But... there is a very corporal element to it as well. This universe is so big. Heaven is so mysterious. Life is so...... lifey. (No, it's not a word. I'm okay with that.) The thing is... we are flesh and spirit. We belong to heaven and earth. Life is long at the beginning... and short at the end. We are limited by the boundaries of our body... and set free by the unlimited potential of our souls. We get scared. We feel so small. We hear so many stories, we do not know which way to turn. We have so many choices, sometimes it paralyzes us with fear that if we make the wrong choice we blow the whole journey. We come to a crossroad that is so unsure, we choose to go back instead of forward.

The truth is everyone has all of the same fears, doubts, curiosities, boundaries, etc. Oh, sure... some people make it look better. Some people have more confidence. Some people accept the challenge and jump in without knowing what's next. Some people are fortunate to have the guidance of successful mentors, who help them move forward through the fears.

But other people... Other people are EXACTLY like you and me. They are hopeful and clueless all at the same time. They question everything and want to know all of the answers before taking the next step. They want to know the secret everyone else seems to know.

So, if everyone is alike, and if everyone is looking for a secret, and if there is no secret.... WHAT THE HECK???

You've heard the answer. I've heard the answer. Jill, down the street has heard the answer. Everyone says, "it's not that simple." But it is.  In my observations throughout the years, as well as the reading I've done, and the videos I've watched, successful people all have one thing in common. They just do it. They do what they love. They do it despite the fears. They do it despite the criticism. They do it nonstop. And they do it better and better as time goes on. The "it" is up to you, and me.

We are all created with unique gifts and talents. We all are created with a purpose.  We each are the only "me" in existence. Ever. For all eternity. And there is nothing or no one who can stop us from achieving our destiny. There is no such thing as taking the wrong path! Either way will lead us to where we are meant to be. Either direction has lessons.  If we could only see ourselves the way God sees us. He knows. And He has given us everything and everyone we need. Don't forget to appreciate the setbacks and the buttheads. Often, those are the things and people we need!!!

But we can't see what God sees in us unless we spend time with Him, and are open to His inspirations and providence. It takes a lot of trust to move forward unsure. But, the truth is that we often don't see the story unfolding until we stop standing still. It's kind of like G.P.S. You can turn it on, type in the correct address, and wait. And wait. And wait. You will never know where to go next until you take the brake off, and begin moving forward. If you take a wrong direction, it will recalculate. Hey... I like that. G.P.S. God's Providential Spirit.

We may not see what He sees in us. But we can be confident in knowing He does see it. It IS there. And nothing can stand in the way of our own story once we claim it and begin moving forward.
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