Pain and Purpose

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. ~Winston Churchill

I don’t even know what prompted it, but I was thinking today about the injuries I’ve been trying to recover from, and the pain they cause. And it got me to thinking about my purpose.

Yes, I run for myself. It’s become a habit. A bit of a necessity for my own personal health and sanity. Which is part of my purpose. But then I think about my half marathon. And why I signed up for that in the first place. How I had decided to add fundraising to the mix. To do what I can, in my own small way, to help prevent child abuse.

And I think of the pain. The pain that those children endure, that sometimes know no other way. The pain that I witnessed in the eyes of my own child. And I think, “my pain is nothing”. Because it isn’t.

I know I have to take things easy to an extent. I don’t want any further injuries and I want to be sure I can continue to run. But I’m reminded of the pain of those children. That there’s so much I can tolerate. And I will. For them.

For more on my why, you can read about it here. And if you can find it in your heart to contribute to my purpose, visit my fundraising page here. Thank you.

5 and 1

Forgive me. This is going to be long, personal, and full of pain.

It’s been five years. Anyone that knows me probably knows exactly what happened five years ago today. Anyone that’s read this blog has seen me allude to the events of that time in my life.

April 6, 2011. I came home after picking up my then-husband from work, to be greeted shortly thereafter by a police officer and representative from DCFS (Department of Child and Family Services in Illinois). We were only told there was an investigation, and that he had to leave the house. I was to take both children to the child advocacy center the next day for questioning. At the time, my son had just turned 14, and my daughter just 11.

We were given no information. Don’t ask questions, they said.

In the events of the following 48 hours, I found out my daughter had disclosed abuse at the hands of her father. I was in a fog. I was in denial. I was hurt. But nothing prepared me for the pain to follow.

Two days later, they came and took my children and placed them into a foster home. So much I won’t go into now. I could write a book. Yes, I made some mistakes. I panicked. And for those that don’t know, you aren’t allowed to make choices, or God forbid mistakes, when DCFS is involved. (So how, then, do children die at the hands of abusive parents, even when DCFS has been called to investigate? Don’t even get me started on THAT!)

DISCLOSURE: To avoid any accusations, and in the interest of full disclosure, I have to state that he still claims his innocence, and was acquitted of all charges by a jury.

This is one of my character flaws at times. No matter what I have been through or what it has caused me, I will always give somebody the benefit of the doubt, even if they don’t deserve it. I will always treat people with kindness. I will always do the right thing as best as I can. I will say, whole-heartedly, I believe everything my daughter said. I have seen too much pain, been through too much with her, to feel any other way.

When all hell broke loose, there was a time I clung to whatever I could. Whatever was left. The only thing I knew. That which I was comfortable with. I quickly realized though that I had to leave that comfort zone. I knew I was going to face challenges. But it was time to do what needed done.

For the past 5 years, I have struggled. Trying to figure out how or where I went wrong. Feelings of intense pain. Guilt. Feelings of acceptance. Forgiveness. Finding joy and happiness where there seems to be nothing but hurt and sadness.

Only during the past year have I really felt like I’ve moved past it. I realized over the course of the year that I never truly processed the pain. The divorce. I did what I had to do. I pushed through and accomplished what I needed to do for my daughter. I went from a stay-at-home mom, to a full-time working mom, supporting myself. And right back into Mom mode, having to work through everything with my daughter.

Let me tell you, as a parent, there is no greater pain than seeing the intense pain of your child. I didn’t have time for myself. I spent two solid years worrying and hurting for her.

But this past year was different. She is doing fantastic, all things considered. And I’ve been able to take care of myself. And find what truly makes me happy.

In running, I have found an outlet. A stress relief. A time for myself. A few months ago, it occurred to me that I started running almost to the day of the events of 2011. My first run this time around was on April 5, 2015. Maybe I knew. I needed to revisit that outlet.

You see, I started running back in 2012 also. Before my daughter moved back home. And even after, she was in school during the week, and I worked weekend nights, so I had a lot of time on my hands during the weekdays. After I changed jobs, however, things were more difficult. Scheduling was more complicated. I was working a regular day job, and adjusting to a new schedule.

But this time, it was different. I was focused more on improving myself. Taking care of myself. And through that process, I learned about myself. I learned to love and accept myself, first and foremost. Faults and all. I learned to care less what other people think. To stay true to myself. I know the right people will love and accept me for who I am, regardless of my faults and failures.

I know we are all unique and different in our own way. I found running to be a great outlet for me, as I know several other people have. But I also know it’s not for everyone. What’s important, is that you find something. Especially when you are going through a stressful, painful time. Whether it’s swimming, running, biking. Or even non-fitness related, like art. Painting, photography (which also helped me immensely), drawing. Something. I don’t expect everyone to follow the same path, make the same choices as I have. I only ask for support for my choices. And I, likewise, will support anyone in the choices they feel best for themselves.

Running also helped me to cope with being alone, when I had no one to turn to, no one to lean on. Before all my friends and family get on me about that statement, I know I had people, to an extent. But it’s different. When the one person you had to talk to every day, about everything, is suddenly out of your life, there is no other person you feel you can talk to. Not every day. At least not for me. I had to find a way to cope. To fill that void. For a long time, even though I seemingly had all the time in the world, I still had none. So much driving to visits. Working. Court. Counseling. It seemed to be never ending. But there always came a time, when I needed something to fill my time.

For a while I focused on scrapbooking. I can’t do it anymore. It was good at first, when I didn’t have my kids, it gave me something to focus on them. But now, I can’t go back. That’s part of my moving on. I still have all the photos, all the memories, when I’m ready to relive those moments. But for now, that part of me is gone. So the focus became fitness. And running. The one thing that has always been there for me in some way.

Part of me can’t believe I’ve actually stuck with it for an entire year. But that’s part of my growth. It’s become a part of who I am. And I can’t imagine it any other way.

Over the past 5 years, I’ve learned so much. Not only loving myself, but I’ve learned to be alone and love that too. I always said I’d like to find someone else, but I was perfectly ok and happy doing things on my own. But now, 5 years later, I feel like I can finally accept the fact that I don’t have to. I never thought I could be this happy. But I’ve found a place. A sweet spot. And I love every bit and piece of my life. I’m happier than I ever thought possible.

So here’s to several more years. Of running and racing. Living and loving. Healthy. Happy.

Post-Race Recap

Well, I made it. Barely. 

It’s kinda funny, actually. My daughter joined me for the Hot Chocolate Chicago race. She was running the 5k, I was running the 15k. Before the race, I was pointing out how our sweatshirts were embroidered, “Chicago 2015 Finisher”, but not all were. We had a laugh about how you get the sweatshirt before the race, even if you don’t finish. 

Little did I know, that almost ended up being me!

Before the race started, I warmed up with some slow jogging before joining my start corral. I stretched what little I could while waiting for my group to reach the start line. I had done a squat at one point, and felt a pinch on the outside of my left knee. 

I started out slow, as I typically would for that long of a run. Not that I had much choice with the sheer number of runners. You certainly don’t run these races if you’re all about the time and competition. Weaving amongst all the walkers is a little more than a nightmare. But I was in no hurry. 

I made it through 4 miles, no problem. Somewhere around mile 5, I felt that pinching feeling on my knee again. I walked a couple times for a short while, and it would go away. After mile 6 it seemed to linger more. I continued trying to push thru, but slowed my pace. Up until this point, I was probably running about 10:15-10:30 pace. 

I was coming into McCormick place and things felt fine. I picked up the pace a bit, and as I was exiting, it was almost like my knee completely gave out. It was excrutiating! It hurt so much just to walk. Shortly after, there were a couple volunteers, and one lady asked if I was ok. I said I’d be fine and carried on. 

I thought I was closer to the end, but I hadn’t reached mile 8 yet. Either way, I was determined to finish. 

A little while later, the same lady came up behind me on a bike and asked if I was sure I was ok, and offered to get me a cart. I refused. I didn’t start this race not to finish. And as long as I could walk, that’s exactly what I was going to do. 

I quickly realized that if I quit bending my knee, and kept my leg as straight as possible, it didn’t hurt much at all. I walked as fast as I could, which was pretty slow for me! I tried starting a slow jog a couple times, but there was no way I would be able to do anything that resembled running. 

I wanted so bad to run this race. And it hurt so bad. Not just physically. Emotionally I was just done. All the feelings of failure kept creeping in. I wanted to cry. In fact, I had to hold back tears more than once. I couldn’t even finish strong. But I finished. 

I went to the medical tent to get some ice. The lady that helped me there was trying to figure out the pain and felt it might be bursitis. But it seems like the location more resembles ITBS. I’ll give it a few days of icing and taking it easy and see how it feels. Hoping to avoid any more doctor/PT visits. 

Either way, it would seem I will be launching another hiatus. I have until next June to get my act together. I plan to do this right so I don’t encounter any more problems for my half. 

But right now, all I know is this – regardless of what happened today, or last month, I am not a quitter. I’ve committed to being healthier, and running. And I’m too strong to let anything get me down. 

Running teaches us to keep moving forward, one step at a time, especially in the most painful moments. 

  

Pain, Grief and Acceptance

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do. ~Brené Brown

Last month, I wrote a post on my birthday about learning to finally love myself. You can read that here. But I’m not perfect.

I love myself for all that I am. I really do. And I accept myself. But it’s a constant battle. Every day is something. Almost daily, I look in the mirror and see the body of the person I was 100 pounds ago. I know that’s not me any more, but that’s still what I see.

Almost daily, I find myself constantly wanting to ask “Why?”. I know I’m a wonderful person, inside and out. And it’s what’s on the inside that matters more than anything. But I still wonder.

It’s a daily thought process of mine, reminding myself that I’m perfect just the way I am. Even though I’m not perfect, far from it. But I constantly see all my mistakes, all my imperfections, and I wonder if that’s what everyone else sees too?

Fall is a very hard time for me. My absolute favorite season, but it bears so many negative reminders. My birthday. Every year for the past 5 years I’m reminded that I don’t have someone to take me to dinner and celebrate. My divorce was finalized in October 3 years ago, another reminder of my failures. And this year a friend posted that they are celebrating 20 years, they were married in 1995, as was I. I don’t think I ever allowed myself to grieve that, given all the other circumstances distracting me. October also marks the anniversary of my ex’s trial, another painful reminder. And through it all, I’m reminded of how strong I’ve had to stay. Carrying so much on my shoulders.

I know I’m strong. I know I’m independent. I know I’m beautiful. But I constantly have to remind myself of these things. And of what I’m capable of. Physically and mentally.

I just applied to go back to college to work towards a bachelor’s degree. Something I’ve always thought of, and never done. I often wonder if part of my desire stems from wanting to be better. Feeling like I’m not good enough. As if some degree will make me a better person. (It won’t, I know that. I’m going back because it’s something I’ve always wanted. Again, proof for myself that I’m capable.)

Like running. I run because I can. I prove to myself regularly that I’m capable. That my body can accomplish far more than I give it credit for.

All these things weigh on me daily. And I just keep pushing through. And trying to remain positive and smile.

And then today happened. Earlier this month, I actually paid a photographer to take photos of myself and my kids. It was more for me, truth be told, but I really wanted pictures with my kids also. It’s been almost 10 years since I had photos of me with them (and of course my ex was in those too). It was money I didn’t really have to spend, but I did it for me.

004

And today I got the previews. It was all I could do to keep from tearing up at work. Looking at those photos and seeing me for the beautiful person I am. And accepting what I see. Seeing me still smiling after all I’ve been through. And happy.

blogging_template3

And I’m once again reminded of why I love photography so much in the first place. I always wanted to give others that feeling of being proud of who they are. And showing that love and beauty through the lens. And this is also why I advocate for everyone to get in front of the camera! It’s so important, to do it for your family, but most importantly, for yourself. Especially as women and moms. We get so caught up in everyone else, that we forget about ourselves.

So thank you so much, Scarlett. For making me feel beautiful. And worthy. And reminding me exactly what I’m made of. And that yes, I AM enough. I will treasure these photos always.

Blah

Even a bad run is better than no run at all. 

So my last blog post I was patting myself on the back. Today? Not so much. 

This is what happened:

  
Not so great, for sure. It’s been a rough few days. Have pain in my foot, which felt perfectly fine this morning. But worked double yesterday, and it was a late night. And we won’t talk about how I pulled my calf muscle yesterday. Let’s just say it happened and leave it at that. 😁

But you know what? I still got out there and did something that only 6 months ago I could only dream of. 

And this:

  
Makes it all worth it. To be able to run and soak this all in. Something that is so easy to take for granted. 

So yes, it wasn’t a great run. But it was my run. And it doesn’t make me any less of a runner. We all have bad days. And that’s ok. We should still be so proud of what we accomplish every day we step outside that door. I know I am!

Reminders

I often have people asking me how I’m doing. What’s going on. And I know for every one of those, there’s probably two people that are afraid to ask. That don’t want to pry. I was talking to a friend last Summer. Questions were asked, and then an apology for asking. I said I didn’t mind… I’m an open book at this point. Or am I?

I really don’t have anything to hide. Anything that I’m not proud of just shows I’m human. I make mistakes, but I’ll own them. But I’ve realized recently, that there’s a lot that I really haven’t talked about. I think part of me just gets tired of talking about it all. I don’t care that people know. And part of me thinks everyone is probably tired of hearing my woes anyway! And honestly, it’s hard to stay positive when you’re talking about what’s not working right now!

I have daily reminders of the past year. Scars, some would say. But I prefer to call them reminders. Yes, there’s no shortage of emotional reminders. Every day. Multiple times. Every time I walk through my hallway. Every day I go to work. Every time I get in the van. But I choose to use them as positive reminders, not negative. Reminders of the smart, beautiful, thoughtful children I have. That I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for.

And then there’s the physical reminders. The two surgical scars I see every day. Reminders of the pain of the past year. But also reminders of the lessons I’ve learned. Of the thankfulness that what was there is now gone. To release fear for faith. To appreciate every day. And perhaps most importantly, to not put off until tomorrow what can (and should) be done today.

So for all my friends out there that are probably wondering… please know that I’m just trying to remain positive. To be thankful for that which I do have. And to not focus on what I don’t. I just want to return to some normalcy in my life. You know, the one that moves on. Yes, there’s a lot going on. There probably will be for some time. But I know things will be alright eventually. That’s my faith. That’s what gets me through.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. ~Joshua 1:9

Feelings of Fall

I know, I know! It’s been a while since I’ve posted yet again! But I’ve been inspired. 🙂 I had a wonderful weekend, much needed! And the sunshine didn’t hurt!

I’ve been having a rough couple weeks. And no, it’s not the family stuff bringing me down, but all the other stuff. But I’ve been reminded it doesn’t pay to dwell on the unknown. Live each day to the fullest! I saw last week that the topic of this weekend’s message at Willow was anxiety. Boy, is that timing, or what?! So I made sure I got my butt to church on Saturday. And Darren didn’t disappoint! What a moving message he delivered, and just what I needed. Although he referenced several wonderful passages from the bible, I didn’t write them down. But this one, was my favorite:

Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith. ~Henry Ward Beecher

I don’t know about you, but the faith option is a lot easier on the soul. I was thinking about this the other day also. Peace. I’ve felt that peace beyond all understanding before. Over the Summer. But I’ve been struggling recently with finding that feeling again. I’m still not totally there, but close. But in thinking about things, I started wondering. When I tell people about how peaceful I feel, even given everything going on, do they think it doesn’t bother me? That couldn’t be further from the truth. Finding peace in adversity doesn’t mean you don’t feel pain. Yes, it hurts. All the time. The pain will probably never go away. But finding that level of peace within yourself just helps ease that pain. To the point that you can focus on better, more positive things. I encourage everyone to really seek that peace, take the hand of God, and let Him lead you. It’s there, you just have to let go and allow Him to take your pain.

After church, I had the pleasure of joining some friends for dinner. Again, wonderful times and much needed conversation. I know everyone has their own troubles. I get so focused on mine sometimes that I just need a reminder that life isn’t all about what I’m going through. I know I have so many people that pray for me every day, even though they have their own struggles and anxieties. Isn’t that what life should be about? Supporting and praying for those you know, even those you don’t know, regardless of what you are going through?

Yesterday I attended church with my brother’s family and my daughter. Yes, we have unsupervised visits now, which makes doing things like this possible. It was another great message. A reminder that God is the one in control of us, not the other way around. It’s when we try to be in control, to do what we want, not what God wants, that things tend to go awry. And can I ever attest to that! The rest of our visit was spent carving pumpkins for Halloween. A wonderful, normal afternoon!

I also had the privilege of taking family photos for a friend yesterday. Some great Fall colors still out there! So I have several photos that I will share, from pumpkins, to families. I had a friend of mine with me when I went to my shoot. She spotted these beautiful red leaves, all alone, in a field of cat tails. A lone maple trying to sprout up. I love the colors of Fall, but particularly the bright red! So I stopped on the way back to capture the beauty of the new life. Enjoy these photos of Fall!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Love and Life

Have I mentioned how much I miss my computer? Of course, I haven’t! Because I haven’t blogged because of lack of said computer! You know, if you had asked me a month ago if I could survive without it, I would have said NO WAY! But it’s not so much that I need it. I get along just fine without it. I spend my time doing other things, like reading. But not having it when I want to blog, to edit a quick photo, bothers me. I haven’t even been taking pictures lately, because I can’t edit them. So why bother? I need to get that thought out of my head though, because I need to take them for other reasons. So what if they sit on my cards for a month. I need to get the camera out and use it for what it gives back to me, right now. And the editing can wait. I will say, though, that I’ve found a new friend in my iPhone camera and instagram. It’s not the same, for sure, but it provides some of the same benefits. {The photos I’m sharing today are the remainder of those I took last weekend.}

Speaking of reading, I just finished reading Cold Tangerines, by Shauna Niequist. I love her insightfulness! It was just the reminder that I needed, to celebrate life. Live for the moment, and enjoy every minute. It’s a daily struggle for me, not to dwell on the negative. And I find myself wanting to go back to the ways I used to use in the past to make me feel better. Instead, I’ve renewed my love for walking, sometimes taking two walks a day. Listening to music, and enjoying the wonders of God’s creation in nature, helps ground me. I still have complete faith, in knowing that I’ll get through, and be a better person because of it. And everything hurts more than I can describe, but I still truly believe that one has to experience true pain and suffering to really see the joy and happiness in life.

Which brings me to a quote I read recently:

“Love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” ~Leo F. Buscaglia

Happiness and love. They go hand-in-hand. Without love, loving ourselves, we can’t truly experience the happiness God meant for us. It’s taken me a long time to realize this. And a big slap upside the head to get there! But I’ve struggled with this all my life. I’ve never loved myself, never been happy with who I was, always wished I was someone else. But now, I’ve never been happier. Even my counselor told me I truly looked happy this week, for the first time. Yes, I have regrets from the past, and I fear the unknown. I know I can’t change anything, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten. And I have total trust in God that everything will work out according to His will, but that doesn’t mean I’m not afraid. I’ve made huge strides in this area. I don’t get nervous like I used to. And I don’t let the fear consume me, but it’s still there at times. For the past several years, I’ve just coasted through life. Afraid to try because I was afraid to fail. Afraid to speak for fear of what others might think. Afraid to stand my ground, for fear of who I’d anger. But my life is mine to live, for me, with God’s guidance.

One of the big lessons I’ve learned is that it’s ok to ask for what I want and need in life. This is a big struggle for me. But gone are the days of sitting around waiting for things to come my way. Dreaming of what I want and waiting for it to happen, instead of making it happen. So with each decision I make, comes prayer, followed by action in the way I feel led. Am I going to make mistakes? Sure! I’m only human. But I’m also ok with it. So what if I’m wrong? I’ll learn from my mistakes and move on.

I pray that Christ will live in your hearts by faith and that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. ~Ephesians 3:17

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Survival

Well, the first day of school came and went… and I survived! I felt so much peace after last weekend. I think the feeling of sadness I had last week was purely something I wasn’t expecting, and thus not prepared for. I had time to process it before the first day, which was good. Yes, I had a small rush of sadness as I walked in to work, but it was a-ok after that, and I’m so glad to be back! My son seems to be enjoying high school. I haven’t heard any complaints yet, so that’s always good! And it’s nice to be back on to a regular schedule.

Speaking of schedules, yesterday was my first day of working both jobs, back-to-back. When I took the second job, and was told it wouldn’t be full time, I made the decision to stay at the school, and just add on. I had NO IDEA just how much I would be working, and how hard it was going to be. But, I SURVIVED! I was on my feet all day, and it was hard, but hopefully once my body adjusts to all the standing again, it will get easier. Today, I get to do it again. And how did I start my morning? By going for a walk. I seriously considered taking the time to sit and rest, it’s about all I’ll get today, but I really needed the walk. And it felt good. The rest of this week is going to be hard, between all the work and what is to come Friday.

On the positive side, because visitation was missed last week, I am getting an extra hour this week and next. It’s still not the same as completely missing a week, but it’s better than nothing. My daughter and I also started joint counseling this week. It was great to get to say and discuss some of the things I’ve wanted to talk about for a while now, but can’t during regular visitation. It was very enlightening to me, to know how much she knows (or doesn’t know!), and to know just how she feels. And I left feeling happy and satisfied.

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.  ~Psalm 18:32

Renewed Spirit {Day 70}

I feel SO MUCH BETTER!! Yes, my spirit is renewed! Is the pain gone? No way! That will take a long time, and even then it will probably never be fully gone. But it’s back under control, and I’m focusing on the positive, and the spirit of God!

It’s such a gorgeous weather day today! I had quit walking over the Summer for a number of reasons. I went for a walk a couple times over the past week, and it felt good. So this morning, I decided I needed that back in my life. The breeze was cool, and the weather perfect. So I laced up my tennis shoes, grabbed my headphones, and hit the trail. I have a playlist that consists of the Christian music artists I have on my iPod. Currently, that includes David Crowder Band, Rebecca St. James, and Red. There’s so many more I want to get, but, like everything else, in time. Now, I listen to these songs all the time! But today, as I was walking, I truly listened to the lyrics of each and every one, and there was so much meaning! Of course I have my iPod set to shuffle. And the order of music that it played was so fitting! First, I heard a few songs that bring out all the pain, and they make me cry almost every time I hear them! Then, on the way back, it was all songs of rejoicing and joy! Transforming my day and my spirit, moving out that pain, and reminding me of what I need to rejoice in!

In other news, I went to church last night. I almost didn’t go for a couple reasons, but the why doesn’t really matter. Anyway, a few weeks ago, a friend sent me an invite to sit in a section of the church where a lot of area folks sit. I’ve been considering it since then, but hadn’t taken that step. So we ran into someone we knew from the area on our way into church, and were invited to sit with them. The very location I was invited to by the other friend. I guess it was time to take that step! And I had actually been thinking about it last night, too. Timing, or what?

Ok, on to the service. Henry Cloud was speaking. The topic of discussion was based on Ecclesiastes 3

 1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

He pointed out how this string of verses is talking of beginnings, and endings. How our life is filled with them. Sometimes, we need to have endings to make way for new beginnings. Or even just to make way for more growth in what we already have. Similar to pruning a rose bush, we need to do the same with our lives. So much truth there.

After church, I had the privilege of talking with my daughter on the phone for 45 minutes. Such a blessing! She was truly happy, and in a wonderful mood, and just what I needed to hear! The call was initiated by her, too, which made me feel even better. 🙂  After talking with her, I went to write in my journal. Backing up… A couple weeks ago, I needed a new journal. So I went to the book store and looked at all of them. Every. Last. One. I wanted something with meaning, not just a book with blank pages. I ended up walking away with the Serenity Journal. As you can probably guess, it is filled with inspirational quotes, all relating to what is written in the Serenity Prayer. On every other page is a verse from the bible that provides inspiration, and on facing pages a quote. After I write in my journal, I read all the quotes and verses on the pages I’ve written on. At the bottom of the last page I wrote on was the following from, you guessed it, Ecclesiastes 3.

There is a time for everything, and everything on earth has its special season… There is a time to be silent and a time to speak. ~Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7

Coincidence? I don’t really believe in such things. More like God Moment. Now, you see, I’ve been pondering something for the past several days. In two days, by two different people, a question had been posed to me. And it involves this very topic. I’ve been thinking about it all weekend. And here comes the tough part, I’m really not sure what the right choice is. So over the next week, I will be praying for the answer, the wisdom to do the right thing.

Now that I’ve written a novel, I’m to my sharing point. Today, I’d like to share the following song from Rebecca St. James. This was near the end of my playlist today, and I really listened to the words, and it reminded me that I’m not on my time line, I’m on His. And it’s just a fantastic song! Have a listen, and truly hear the words it is speaking. Great stuff!

I drug my son out today, much to his chagrin, as it was time for an update to the photo on our wall. He hates me taking his picture. I used to “use” him all the time to practice. But I’ve been very careful not to do that anymore, and haven’t made him get his picture taken since last year at this time. Once a year isn’t too much to ask, is it? So here he is, my new high schooler, serious as ever. It’s so hard to imagine that we only have four more short years.