Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I am a Survivor...but not just of Breast Cancer

I am the first to say that I wish I had different choices to vote for in our Presidential Election. I do not want to vote, for either of them. Neither one of them speak for me. But, the events of the last few days have me angered. I respect your decision to vote how you wish, I would love it if you would stay with me long enough to explain the "WHY" I can NOT vote for Donald Trump. 

Over the long course of this campaign, I have watched and listened to DT bash just about every group of Americans and Immigrant Americans (which by the way, the vast majority of us ALL were, at some point) Ethnic groups, Our Country, Other Countries...and most of all women. I have watched people I love on my FB feed say that "He apologized" now we should "Get Over It" or "Move ON". I have wobbled with my vote because at my core, I align myself more with the Republican platform than the Democratic platform, and honestly had it been almost ANYONE other than DT, I would have voted Republican. But, DT being the choice that I have for that Republican vote sickens me, and here is very specifically why. 

1) I have a brother with cerebral palsy. Every single day my brothers crippled limbs pull up into themselves. He gets up hours before anyone else to get dressed, as getting from his bed to the bathroom is a chore. Getting showered, changed and even pulling socks on is a daily struggle. My brother is not black, not a muslim, not an immigrant, and not a woman, but he is a disabled american. He works his booty off, getting himself to his job through bus rides (as he isn't able to drive) and help from amazing friends. He is one of the happiest, most honest, most amazing people that I know. You can watch Trump make fun of a disable person with crippled limbs here: http://www.cnn.com/…/donald-trump-mocks-reporter-with-disab…. This is NOT the man I want representing those with disabilities. and YET, I was STILL undecided. 

2) I have many people in my life who are overweight, including myself right now. I have gained weight due to medications that are keeping the cancer from returning to my body. My body is scarred from multiple surgeries. I do not have nipples, I have straight scars right across my breast line. I have other scars, all over my body, I am more plump than normal, to no fault of my own, and yet, I would not be considered a person of "beauty" to Mr. Trump. My breasts are not beautiful and certainly not perfect, so I guess I can not be a 10 in his view. My weight would be a problem for him to see me as beautiful. I am sorry that cancer has destroyed some of my "outer" beauty. But that is what you are looking for Mr. Trump. You are not looking at my inner beauty at all. Oh, and not to mention I have daughters. How am I supposed to explain to them that they better grow boobs, be thin, and physically attractive to be a person of worth to the POTUS? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0up4nU7Q2Qo. and YET, I was still undecided. 

3) Finally, and perhaps MOST importantly, a friend of mine broke her silence this morning on her blog, about her childhood sexual abuse. It is a heartfelt read, if you have the time and the courage to read through her battle, I recommend that you do.  http://gracethroughguilt.blogspot.com/…/thank-you-for-intro…  Paige, inspired and put my words and feelings exactly onto the page. SHE IS ME, and I AM HER. I was 8 years old when someone I loved and trusted, pushed me onto a couch "gropped by P**SY" and forced His tongue into my mouth. I had no choice. It happened more than once, over the course of several months. It happened in a home that should have been safe. It happened in front of other "men". It happened repeatedly, during the day, in the middle of the night and in a place from which I had no escape. This past weekend there was a tape released in which Donald Trump said that he doesn't ask permission to forcebly kiss a woman and you can just "grab them by the p**sy". Even suggesting he better eat some tic tac candy in case he "just starts kissing" someone. I am sitting here with my heart thumping out of my chest as memories of a man doing EXACTLY that, flood my heart, mind and very soul. A man sneaking up next to the couch I was sleeping on, and grabbing at my 8 year old genitals. I pretended to be asleep. I laid there frightened while this man grabbed at me and started forcing his tongue in my mouth. He did not eat a tic tac beforehand.

 GUESS WHAT? Mr. Trump you now want to say this was "Locker Room" talk. Well excuse me for being mortified. Perhaps your words are what gave the man who molested me the kind of power to think it is OK. Perhaps your behavior as a leader and your words, as a leader, inspire those predators to think it is A-OK to force themselves on women, "hey even the Nominee for President of the United States says it is fine and finds if funny." I do NOT find it funny. 

For the first time in years, I am typing this out with anger and tears. So, it is a 1-2-3 Knock out Punch to you Mr. Trump. I HAVE decided. You do not get my vote. You do not speak for me. If this post, does not make you uncomfortable, if this post does not make you think twice about your vote. Well, like I said, you have the right as a free American to vote for who you wish. I honor YOUR right to choose. 

This will be my very last political post. Feel free to share, if you care to. 

I still do NOT know who I will vote for, there are still two choices and honestly I may not vote for a Presidential nominee at all. BUT, with certainty, I will not be coloring in the dot next to the name: Donald Trump. 

A dear friend of mine once asked me to PLEASE really think about voting for Trump because she is a republican through and through. I love you, but I disagree. I can absolutely align myself with the Republican party, and choose not to vote for Trump. 

Maybe in 4 years, the party line will get more serious and actually nominate someone who I can support. I am one of many Americans who fall between the folds of NOT having a candidate that represents me. Sad, very sad. As a Cancer Survivor, Sexual Abuse Survivor, Sister of a Disabled American, Mom of Daughter and a Woman...I can not vote for Donald Trump. You can, but I can not.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Musings of a Reformed Neat Freak

Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of a home owner like realizing you have company coming in a couple of days.  Pure terror takes over when you realize your company is your Mother (or Mother in Law- take your pick).

Once Upon A Time...there lived a young woman who liked every thing to have a place and expected it to be in that place.  This put together executive, made sure laundry was washed, folded AND put away.  She liked to see vacuum marks in the carpet and the kitchen was always spotless.  Whatever she and her husband needed could be found with ease.  The toilets were gleaming, the mirrors were so clean that they sparkled, you could probably eat off of the floors.  Her home was so "caught up" that making a home made dinner every night, was a snap without the looming list of to-do's staring her in the face.  With every corner cleaned, she would snuggle up to her husband at night and watch hours of TV, or retreat to a cozy chair and get lost in a book.  Sound like a Fairy Tale?  It was....once upon a time.

Now?  Well, lets just say this princess lost her wand, her sparkle and her sanity, which I am pretty sure I delivered right with the placenta of my first kid!

John took over the laundry several years ago, when he was concerned about having underwear and a clean shirt.  I was simply glad I didn't smell like sour milk from nursing all night.  I do put away laundry, just not expeditiously.  It might sit for a "little" while.  Oh, who am I kidding, I just dig through the baskets to find what I want to wear.  John has on more than one occasion left this house with wrinkled pants (because, I don't iron and apparently neither does he).

Gleaming Toilets?  Are you kidding me!  Just recently, I had a family meeting.  I wasn't asking for much.  "Listen, family.  If you leave a poop streak in the toilet bowl, can you please just use the disposable wand and swirl it away.  Especially in the downstairs half bath which is our "guest" bath."  This resulted in laughter, as mom called a meeting to talk about poop streaks in the bowl!  I usually warn anyone who says, "Hey can I use your bathroom?"  Why, yes you can.  But I am not guaranteeing there is not pee/poop or both currently in the toilet, because my family also seems to have developed a flushing problem.

Sparkling mirrors, well maybe.  But it is probably jus the gleam from the toothpaste you are seeing or quite possibly the glitter that seems to be in eyeshadow, nail polish, lip gloss and every other teenage product.  How did it get on the mirror?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Warning: If you choose to eat off the floors do so at your own risk.  The dog/cats or both may have recently puked there.  Sure I wiped it up, but hey, you might still find yourself covered in hair or slipping in the spilled apple juice that was "sort of" cleaned up.

Let's not talk about our office.  The loading zone.  The 4 desks, covered in junk zone.  Listen people, I try.  I really do.  But, I can't clean it off fast enough before more piles emerge.  I pick through it and occasionally will get down to business armed with a garbage bag and dust spray but usually it just stays piled up.

Right now, I am in the process of cleaning out a closet and a side attic.  This project has re-affirmed that I am not the Cleaning Queen that I used to be.  We reached critical hoarder status a few days ago when I pulled out 16 years worth of crap in my closet and side attic.  I threw away no less than 10 gigantic garbage bags filled with trash.  I have sorted, I have donated, I have sold, and yet, I sit here surrounded by so much stuff that I expect concerned friends and family to show up any minute with a camera crew and a counselor to talk to me about my cleaning problem.

Oh and as for those thoughtful home cooked meals and hours of snuggle time with the hubs.  Don't make me laugh.  Chick-fil-a for the third time this week, check!

My cats are loving our new status as box trolls, because they think this is their own personal playground.

As I take a break from my closet clean out, I realize that my house IS full of dust and piles and pets and children.  However, it is also filled with laughter, and love and moments and memories.  It is filled with symbols of a cancer battle, of 16 years of marriage, or children growing up way to fast.  It is a home filled with the sound of girls groups, music, movie nights, and baking.  It is a house filled with joy and heartbreak and more joy.  It is a house built with great love and great faith.

So, welcome.  Welcome to my home.  If you can ignore the daily life, crazy schedules and tired mama happening here and step inside, you will be loved and your heart will be cared for.

One day in the not to distant future, the busy schedules, the chaos of kids, and the pace of these years, will slow down.  I won't have piles of homework, dance and sports gear, or piles upon piles of laundry.  Once more John and I can snuggle and watch hours of tv together.  Until then, I will try to enjoy the mess, because I would rather take this messy life, than a clean house...any-day.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Broken Chains and taking out the trash

It is odd for me to sit on my "old blog" that has been left untouched for years.  It is not for a lack of wanting to write or for not having words to share, but this blog has simply been abandoned in the life of a wife, mother, and now cancer survivor.  The last few years have been nothing short of insane.  Through my Caring Bridge site I have been fortunate to share the trials and triumphs of my cancer journey, but today God laid on my heart a message that is not cancer related.  So, I am dusting of my keyboard and jumping back into my blog.

A couple of months ago, I decided that I wanted to set aside a special area of my house to pray, read scripture, work on my bible study, etc... I did not know that this idea was actually a common practice for those who have seen the movie, War Room.  I have not.  I was super excited to find my space and get it set up.  Due to an odd design of our home, and by happy surprise to me, I realized that I could use one of the walk in closets in my bedroom.  Yay me!  I had figured out my space.  I then quickly backtracked as I saw the mountain of stuff piled in that closet.  This was my Christmas, Birthday, purses, jewelry, bags, odds and ends, closet.  It was also the closet for all that stuff you have no idea what to do with closet.

A few days ago, I decided to go ahead and pull all of the stuff out of the closet and into my bedroom. I came to the conclusion that the stuff in the closet (now all over my bedroom floor) would need to be sorted, organized and put in a new location.  The only suitable location was the small, smurf-door, side attic.  Only one problem: the attic was filled with bins of old clothes, 16 years of bankers boxes stuffed full of receipts, tax returns, pay stubs, benefit explanations, etc... So the only logical thing to do, was to empty out the attic as well.  I spent a second day unloading the attic.  More stuff that I unloaded and piled into my bedroom floor, the upstairs hallway, the spare bedroom, and anywhere else the was a spot.  We were seriously approaching hoarder status.  You literally had to weave your way around, up and over piles of boxes, rubbermaid containers, trash bags and more.  As of this writing, I am currently at half-hoarder status.

Today, I decided to tackle the umpteen bankers boxes.  Upon opening each box, I had to decide what to keep, what to throw away, what to go to the shredder and what to sell.  With each box came a new freedom as I made quick work of the throw away and shred and sell piles.  Since I am not, in fact, a hoarder, it was easy for me to dump things that we no longer needed to hold onto.  However, there was still plenty of memorabilia that I took my time reading, pondering, laughing over, tearing up over, and keeping.

One of the piles that I came upon, was from when I was the Women's Retreat Chair for our church.  I was quickly flipping through the files when one of the lessons popped out at me.  This particular retreat was built on really laying down our burdens, giving up our sin, asking for forgiveness, and coming boldly to the cross where Jesus is waiting.  Suddenly, I remembered that retreat vividly.  While I try to confront my mistakes and past discretions head on, there was a particular issue that I had been holding onto for years.  I would ask forgiveness on my knees and then turn around and pick it up and carry it back into my everyday life.  I simply could not let it go.  

It was at this retreat that we talked about the story of David.  David, "a man after Gods own heart". (Acts 13:22)  David, hand chosen by God, a man that God hand picked and "God testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do."  Well, David, being a man of free will, made some really really bad choices.  He coveted his neighbors wife, he had an adulterous affair, he had the husband killed.  David, selected by God, made these atrocious errors.  In 2 Samuel 12:13 David confesses his sin: "David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die."  David, paid dear consequences for his sin.  His sin was not without consequence, but even in the greatest of these sins, David was forgiven.  He was forgiven!!  

Back to me: I realized that my past mistakes were not anywhere near as grievous as Davids.  It was in that moment that God spoke to my heart that INDEED ALL OF MY SINS were forgiven at the cross, when Jesus shed His blood to die for me.  Romans 5:8 tells us: "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners"!!  My friends - GOD BROKE MY CHAINS that day.  He reminded me of how loved I am.  He reminded me that I am never too far away from him, to come home.  

Just like the boxes I am going through, God wants us to put things in the "throw away" pile.  He does not want us rooting through our trash and picking back up our sin, our mistakes, our past.  He wants us to lay down the things that haunt us.  He wants us to repent, to turn.  He wants to break our chains and set us free.  

Friends, if you are holding on to the mistakes of your past, won't you kneel down right now and pray for God to break those chains?  Won't you, right now, ask for forgiveness and make the change to lay down your burden?  Will you accept the forgiveness that was given to you and for you, when Jesus shed His blood at the cross?  

Like tossing out tons of trash from these bankers boxes feels freeing, even more so when we throw out the trash from our past mistakes.  

I love you, but more importantly so does the Lord!!  I pray that you are set free today!!