I really try, for the most part, to find the good in a situation or people, even if I can only find a little bit, when I can. When I began blogging almost 7 years ago (my blog anniversary is in 6 days!) I really thought that my blog was truly going to be what my headline says- rainbows and unicorns and happy faces and bowls of cherries and fields of daisies to everyone that read it.
Something I am? Naive.
I freely admit that because in trying to find the good all the time sometimes I forget that not everyone is always good. It doesn’t mean that they themselves are bad but that they make mistakes just like I do.
My mistake was being naive when it came to blogging. My other mistake was saying I was done blogging.
I thought I was ready to be done. I guess another mistake I make often is being impulsive. Usually it leads to good things…sometimes it doesn’t. After I said I was done blogging I got emails, Instagram comments, and tweets reminding me that y’all are out there…reminding me that there ARE good people reading this blog. I was wrong to act impulsively and just decide on a whim that I was done here.
I’m not done here.
In fact, I think I might just be beginning. Again.
My previous posts are all private so here’s what I decided to do- I am going to republish some favorites from the past 7 years that mean something to me…posts that I feel define me or changed how I thought. The rest will stay for just my eyes to read.
Something very important that I’ve learned lately is that I can’t please everyone. That’s hard for me because I am a major people pleaser. But if I tried to do that, I’d be disappointed often because I’d fail miserably. What I can do though? Be proud of who I am and the kind of mother, wife, sister, friend, family member I am. And? I am. I am proud of all those things. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do…someone somewhere will criticize you. The bigger picture is that for every 1 person that thinks you’re wrong or bad or stupid, there are 10 people who think the opposite.
So, Life Out of Focus is back in a new way…a better way.
Betrayal (or backstabbing): The breaking or violation of a presumptive trust or confidence.
I’ve been betrayed before, each time different than the last. The thing about betrayal is that almost every time it’s happened to me in the past I wasn’t surprised. There were warning signs- a diminishing relationship…a jealousy…a rift in friendship.
The thing about betrayal is, it never gets easier- especially when it blindsides you.
I began this blog Jan 10, 2006. It’s been almost 7 years that I’ve had my own little space on the internet and for 7 years it has brought me joy. I loved being able to share my life with friends, family, and even strangers online. I’ve met many awesome people through blogging and I’ve learned a lot about myself while I allowed myself to put my thoughts and feelings out for the world to read. I guess that in doing this I never imagined that things that I said on this blog would be misconstrued or twisted to mean things they didn’t. When something like that happens, it kind of sucks the joy out of blogging.
What I haven’t shared on this blog is that for months now I kind of toyed with the idea of ending this blog. There wasn’t a concrete reason…I felt like, just like many other things in life, it had run its course. I wasn’t sure when I was going to do this, or even if I would at all, but the idea was there in the back of my mind. But now? I am sure it’s the right choice. I considered making this space of mine private, making all future posts password protected. Right now, though, that doesn’t seem like an option for me. Probably in the future, but not now.
I appreciate every single one of you who read this blog with good intentions. I appreciate the friendships I’ve made and all the good advice you’ve given me in 7 years. You have made this so much more than I ever could have imagined.
This did not ruin Christmas. It has instead made me appreciate the people that love me just a little bit more. My husband loves and stands by me, my children are happy and healthy, and I am truly blessed. There isn’t much more I can ask for.
This isn’t a goodbye but rather a see you around. You know where to find me and if you don’t, email me.
Hope you all have a happy new year.
10 years. That’s how long my baby has been on this earth. 10 years ago I gave birth to the child who made me a mother.
The daughter I dreamed about since I was a little girl. The daughter I imagined each time I played house. The daughter I prayed I’d have one day while I imagined my perfect future life.
And then she came.
After a long 9 months of waiting, she came. Hannah was born.
My perfect baby with gorgeous, thick hair and big blue eyes with long eye lashes.
Even as time went on and she grew up, through sickness and stubborness…
through easy times and hard times…
through becoming a big sister…she has been my baby still.
It felt different when she turned 5 and now it’s different again at 10. Milestone birthdays are always extra special to me. They’re a bigger deal for some reason. Her turning 10 is the first year of double digits. I remember turning 10 very clearly as I’m sure she will too. We’re making a big deal this year over her birthday. She got an iPad mini. She’s going to stay at a hotel with us girls in the family and her friend. We’re going to spoil her rotten because you only enter preteen life once and it IS a big deal.
Happy birthday to my baby who will always be my baby whether she’s 10, or 100.
When I was a kid my mom used to buy album after album of Christian songs for us to sing and learn. She brought us up in a very Christian home and we weren’t allowed to listen to secular music. I never minded though at that age because I loved the albums we had and I have very vivid memories of my sisters and I dancing and singing all of those songs.
When I woke up Friday morning I began my day just like any other day. I made coffee, packed backpacks, and took Hannah to school. Livie and I are off work/school on Fridays and we spend our whole day running errands with family so like every other Friday, that’s what we did. We went to breakfast. We went to the post office, Target, the mall…and finally ended up back here at our house so my sister in law and I could watch Grey’s Anatomy. Such a simple, run of the mill day. Halfway through watching Grey’s, The Man texted me that there was a shooting at an elemetary school in Connecticut. I paused the TV right away to read what I could find online. I read from our local news station’s website out loud to my sister in law and we both sat there wondering how in the world this has not only happened again, but this time in an elementary school.
Later that night through tears I began to think about how those babies must have felt in their last moments when suddenly I remembered a song from one of the albums I loved as a kid. The title was “My Father’s Angels” and the chorus said:
They’re all above me
They’re all around me
My Father’s angels all protect me…everywhere
I imagined that right before these innocent babies took their last breaths, in the midst of the chaos and fear, they saw angels. Their angels. And these angels took them to Jesus.
I have/am currently struggling in my faith. I’ve been questioning a lot of things I learned growing up regarding being a Christian and what the Bible says versus what it really means. But this I am sure of and will never waiver on it- we all have guardian angels and the Bible says in many places how closely children’s angels stay to them. I know with all of my heart that angels brought these souls to Jesus and he is holding them all so closely now.
I can’t make sense of anything else that happened Friday. I have shed so many tears reading and watching the news and just thinking about these parents and families of the victims…and how it’s Christmas…and just everything. I am so emotional over it all.
I took this picture before I took Hannah to school Friday morning without knowing that I’d stare at it throughout the day ever so grateful that my babies were with me yet wondering how many of those parents of those babies took similar pictures before sending them to school that day.
Pray for the families. Pray for healing. I’m not sure of everything I’ve learned my whole life but I know God does listen to us, and he does provide comfort. Pray for comfort and healing for the families affected Friday.
I love them so much…even more after all of this, if that’s even possible to love them more than I already do.
I said in the last post that I was going to hop on the Christmas train down a red, gold, and green rainbow.
You know what? Not only did I get on the train but I rode up front with the conductor. That’s how much I’m embracing Christmas right now.
2 things contributed to this:
1. I had to have a serious pep talk with myself. I had it before I hit publish on the last post but I guess now is the appropriate time to elaborate on said talk with myself. I told myself that just because I’m going to let go of things and move on with the season didn’t mean that the things and/or people that were holding me back were going to disappear. I was smart in telling myself this because none of it disappeared. It pretty much goes on what I said in the last post- you CHOOSE happiness therefore you CHOOSE to let those people or things, whether they’re annoying you or you miss them and can’t be with them this time of year, be. Let it be. 3 simple words. VERY hard to do. The things that were bugging me a few days ago? Still bug me. I’m just choosing to not let them ruin my day anymore. The people I missed 3 days ago? I still miss them so much it hurts. I just can’t let that keep me from moving on with my life. It’s okay to be annoyed. It’s okay to miss people. It’s not okay to stand in the shower crying for 20 minutes while your family waits on you for the bed time routine. (Guilty as charged). Will I be annoyed tomorrow by people? Probably. Will I miss the people I miss tomorrow? Definitely. Am I going to let it wreck my day? No way in hell.
2. It’s cold. I know I complained that it was too warm for December. It’s like Mother Nature heard my bitching because on Monday she blew in with the hand of God behind her. The temperature dropped from mid 80s to mid 50s. We said we were going to wait until it got cold to see Christmas lights because it just wasn’t the same sipping on hot chocolate when it’s 75 and breezy. So Monday, while the temps were well on their way to the mid 30s for a low we went to see the lights. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited in my life to wear a scarf and sip on hot chocolate with gloves on.
The bigger kids were loving it. Livie? Not so much. She had Daddy hold her most the time and said she was cold a few times. I’m definitely raising Texas babies.
So here’s the thing: we plan to do this together as a family every year. The Man and I pack up the kids, but so do his cousins and his mom and step dad go. It’s a big to do. I realize that the kids don’t see the big picture like I do and that’s okay. They don’t have to because I see it all the time. Tradition is a big deal in every family and this is one for us. The kids may bicker along the walk. Noses run. Cocoa gets spilled. The bigger picture? We’re all together and it’s Christmas.
My Christmas is back to being holly and jolly. Mission accomplished.
Friday evening I went to bed still aggravated. Mostly, though, I was aggravated at myself. One thing I’ve said plenty on this blog in regards to rainbows and unicorns and silver linings is that we CHOOSE those things. Happiness IS a choice. I said a few posts ago that I need to be content where I am in life, especially when it comes to situations I can’t control…to just BE where I am, so to speak. So before I went to bed I told The Man that I was done. I was going to wake up happy and not let the little things put a damper on OUR Christmas.
See, that’s why I was pissed at myself. If my attitude only affected me that’d be one thing. But I have a husband and babies to be around a lot during Christmas and usually I’m The Queen of Christmas. And although they haven’t told me, I know they rely on me to bring the Christmas spirit around here. They all follow my lead as the matriarch of this house and when Mama is all doom and gloom it wears off on the people who have to live with her.
I can’t live with myself knowing that. So, I adjusted my attitude. There’s a first time for everything and this is the first time I’ve ever needed a Christmas time attitude adjustment but I did.
Last night we had our annual extended family Christmas get together and I lectured Hannah later on because while she opened gifts, whichever ones happened to be clothes and NOT toys, she kind of huffed and tossed them aside. I told her that’s rude and sometimes we have to fake it til we make it, meaning smile and pretend you love the jacket or sweater someone bought you even if you don’t. After I told her that it dawned on me that maybe I needed to fake it til I made it this Christmas and in time I wouldn’t be faking as much as just truly being myself–The Queen of Christmas.
Today the Christmas music has been playing all day. We went to church for the first time in weeks. I edited pictures from last night and smiled.
Y’all, the transformation has begun. Watch out. The Queen is back on her throne.
Things that contributed to the change:
The Man- A rare occurrence on this blog and anywhere online really is a picture of The Man. He’s been doing less undercover type stuff at work so I’ve been more liberal with posting pics and talking about him. It’s hard to kind of phase him out of my life online because A LOT of my life IS online and he’s a gigantic part of my life. Filtering him out is hard to do and sometimes I break the rules so to speak and post a picture every now and then.
He’s been putting up with my attitude problem for weeks now and I gotta hand it to him- he’s handled it a lot better than I would if the situation was reversed. I would say I owe him big time but marriage is the epitome of ebb and flow so I’m going to call it even for whenever he needs an attitude adjustment in the future.
Family- I’m blessed with 2 awesome sister in laws and a fantastic mother in law. To have in laws that are your best friends is truly something to be cherished and I try to never take that for granted especially since my family is back in Ohio and they’re all I have down here.
So grateful my girls are growing up with lots of cousins like I did. Seeing them so excited last night about presents and playing with their toys together made my heart full…something I haven’t felt in weeks.
An impromtu night out sealed the deal for me. My mother in law decided last minute that the girls could stay the night and The Man and I went out with his sister and cousin. If I could sum up the night in one word, it’d be “fun”…or maybe “laughter.”
And lastly today, I caught her sneaking around things she’s not supposed to be touching again.
But when she was caught? She pulled the I’m-too-cute-to-be-upset-with-me card.
The cheer is back. I’m planning on riding a Christmas train down the red, gold, and green rainbow of Christmas joy this week.
I just edited a few pictures from my phone (I decided it’s Instagram’s fault for my lack of real camera photos) with Christmas music playing in the background. Every year I look forward to Christmas time…the decorating..the music…the overall joy and cheer.
This past week kind of sucked the everything out of all of that for me. I did decorate on Friday but I just wasn’t feeling it. Even as I hit play on my Christmas playlist there wasn’t an excitement like previous years. I’m usually the girl who ONLY listens to Christmas music from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Day. I usually have my gift list done by now and know what I’m getting for who. None of that is going on this year. I guess I can’t blame it ALL on this past week…I think this whole month in general has been just, I don’t know, meh to me. I’ve been in a funk and I looked forward to the week off work for me and school for the girls last week. I REALLY looked forward to a weekend alone with The Man for our anniversary. Neither went well for me and so I found myself in even more of a funk this weekend.
We were able to get out for dinner while my MIL watched the girls for a couple hours. It’s amazing what a couple hours out of an otherwise dubbed sick zone house will do for you. I was happy to just be out of my yoga pants and have make up on after days of finding new spots to cuddle sick babies every couple hours just to change up the day a little.
I joked with The Man that ya gotta be 11 years in a marriage and best friends to handle over a week of sick kids and being couped up with said sick kids. Alone.
But then Sunday? A ray of light. An inkling of a light at the end of the tunnel.
The girls felt well enough to sit outside for a little bit of fresh air and sunshine. The Man grilled burgers. The girls played with their toys a little. It was nice and NORMAL. I’ve been missing normal. And sure, they both passed out at 7pm because that wore them out after days of fever and no appetite. But today? Hannah is better. She’s been fever free and will probably go to school tomorrow. Livie is still running a fever when her Motrin wears off but in between she does get up to play and eat. The light at the end is getting closer and closer.
So in an attempt to get out of my November funk I decided on 2 things:
1. Stare at the Christmas tree a little bit more. A lot of our lights were burned out so I added a string of lights to make it brighter. Next year I’ll have to remember to add the extra lights BEFORE I decorate it.
2. Let go of things that have held me back this month. I’ve been sucked into The Avett Brothers lately and if you’ve not heard of them, look them up. There’s a song called Through My Prayers and it has been my anthem the past few weeks. It’s partly to blame for my late addiction to Christmas music this year. It’s always hard when the holidays come to think of people who have passed away or just simply left from your life. I’m telling myself it’s okay to think of them and miss them but still have a good, happy Christmas season.
So, with Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas playing I end this post with a quote I read on Kelle Hampton’s Instagram. I love it.
“No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are already standing on it. The treasure we seek requires no lenthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company. All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are.” Barbara Brown Taylor