There’s A Storm a Comin’

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Terror is an emotion that I rarely feel, but I felt it last week. Here in the South we have suffered from a long drought this fall. We have had a record breaking sixty-something days without rain. Everything is dry and dusty. The leaves just went from green to brown this year. No beautiful, colorful displays…just dry, crackly, dead leaves falling from the parched trees. The creeks and ponds have all dried up and the animals have gathered close to water in very odd places. There is also a burn ban in effect, so no one in our area will enjoy fall bonfires this year either. It is a sad thing to look at every day. Needless to say, we have all prayed for rain a lot lately.

It seems like God has heard our prayers though because He is sending rain. Only, where I live; when He sends rain this time of the year it always holds the possibility of tornadoes.

Like all Central-Alabamians I had my TV tuned into James Spann for updates all day last Wednesday. I looked at the forecast and I physically prepared as best as I could for the possibility of bad weather. I guess you could say that I was as prepared as prepared can be! Only, I was not emotionally prepared for the storm that was about to hit me.

For nearly 38 years I never truly feared storms. I have lived through many bad weather events (including April 27,2011) living in this part of the state. There have been hurricanes, tornadoes, winter storms, thunder storms, lighting strikes, and torrential rain events. Through all of those I never really felt scared…much less terrified, until last week.

See, during every storm over the past 17 years I had Greg with me. He protected me. He told me what to do and where to go. It was never a question of what I needed to do because he was always one step ahead of me. We spent MANY nights with our friends at the fire department. We spent MANY nights in our friends’ basements. We spent MANY nights ready to pick up the pieces the storms left behind. We spent ALL of those nights together.

Before I was married I lived: at home with my parents and three siblings; in a town home with three of my friends; in an apartment with my cousin; and in the dorms at Bevill. I never once lived alone…and I can honestly say that there has not been one night of any type of weather event that I have ever spent alone in my whole life…until last Wednesday night.

Our friends Kyle and Amy came over with their three boys before the first round of bad weather hit. It looked to be all clear around 10:30, so they went back up the hill and left me alone with my girls for the rest of the night. Amy offered to stay, but I honestly thought that I was OK with them leaving…until James Spann issued a tornado warning around 12:00. That’s when I felt terror hit my soul.

I leaped out of bed, shook my sleeping girls awake, and practically fell down the steps into the storm shelter as the rain pelted the tin roof of our home. I was shaking all over and praying that the storm would pass quickly. Thankfully it did. There were two more rounds after that one; so we stayed in the storm room until morning. I would ease my way up the steps occasionally so that I could see if James Spann had anything to say and to check FB for reports. Sitting in the storm room I had no cell phone signal…no WiFi…no house phone…and no power. It was just me, my girls, and our flashlights. Talk about scared. Yes, I was scared.

I missed Greg so much during those moments that I had to physically restrain myself from sobbing. Tears streamed down my face as I watched my girls try to sleep on that cold, concrete floor. It hit me (again) that I am totally responsible for keeping them alive and safe…even during the storms.

I fought the panic that was rising up in my chest. I took deep breaths and I swallowed my sobs. I refused to let the terror of the moment consume me. I looked up and I asked God to help us. What else could I do?

God knew I was down in that hole with my two girls. He knew I was alone in the storm for the first time. He knew I missed Greg more than anything else on earth. It wasn’t a surprise to Him. He knew that THIS moment was going to happen long before it actually happened. And, He had prepared for it by making Greg install the storm shelter years ago.

I remember the day that he came home and told me that he had bought a storm shelter. I didn’t really think we had the money to spend on one at that time, but he had found this one for a really good price he said. The guy who came to dig the hole had to be extra cautious as he dug because two little girls had to be right there to watch each bucketful of dirt as it came out of the ground. I remember the day we laid the blocks and poured the cement around it. I also remember how I insisted that the heating and air ducts be hooked into it so that it didn’t get all moldy down there. Greg made sure that everything was just right with it and he seemed really happy that we finally had a place to go for bad weather here at home.

The girls and I walked out of that storm shelter together that next morning. Greg had protected us once again by thinking ahead. We had made it through the storm and our home was still in tact.  I can’t say the same for my emotions. It took me several days to figure out why I was so terrified and why I was so emotionally desperate to have my husband back. Today, I figured it out.

That storm was another first. They say that you mark off most of the “firsts” during the first year. I guess I can say that is pretty accurate. However, what they don’t say is that firsts pop up unannounced a lot even after that first year ends. Here I was thinking I was doing pretty good on this grief train…the roller coaster tract had leveled out some I guess you’d say…then BAM! Out of nowhere I hit a 90 degree turn without slowing down. I had zero forewarning and all I could do was hang on for dear life.

I have fought the darkness a lot lately. The holiday season is rough. The roughness is compounded by Greg’s approaching birthday. Emotionally, it’s just a lot of baggage to sort through. I really don’t remember a whole lot from last Christmas. My very wise friend said that I was still numb this time last year and it is not surprising that I don’t really remember a whole lot of details. This year, I am not numb to the pain anymore. It is still very much here and there’s not much that I can do about it. Dang it!

Time helps a lot though. Deciding everyday to keep going and not give up is something I will always have to do I reckon. I don’t see how I can ever get to the point where another first won’t knock me to my knees. That part never gets easier…so I just have to get stronger. I have to stay on guard and be ready for every first left to come.

Knowing that I have to stay ready helps too. It is what the guys at the FD have to do all of the time. They never know when that pager goes off what they might have to face. They don’t know what kind of nightmare they may be fighting. I’m thankful that I understand that now.

I am also thankful for the ones who answer my texts during the storms. Knowing that they know where and how to find us is a big deal to me and the girls. It was a big deal to Greg as well. He taught me a lot over the years…but knowing who to trust no matter what when the going gets tough was something he spent a lot of time drilling into my head. I can see (again) how right he was about that now. I could hear him telling me to tell them that we were OK. I know that he was with us through the whole thing.

So, Life goes on. We push forward and we keep going. The storms may hit us unaware sometimes, but I have Faith that God is never surprised even if we are. None of us have to give in to the terror or panic during our separate storms, because He gives shelter during every storm. He gives comfort and calmness when we need it the most. I’m very thankful for His promises and I know that “His eye is on the sparrow and He watches over me.” That’s pretty awesome!

30 Years in the Making

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30 Years in the Making

Thirty years is a long time. Like…a long, long time. Yet, it somehow feels like yesterday when you are standing on the now side of thirty years.

Today was a very special day for my family. You see, on a hot July day in 1986 we lost a very huge part of our family to a senseless, violent crime.

Bobbie Crimm was my grandmother. My daddy’s mother. She was a fun-loving, outgoing, jewel of a woman who adored her family. When she was taken from us so violently no one was prepared. No one was ready. No one fully understood what kind of hole had just been ripped into the core of our family.

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Over the past thirty years Bobbie’s family has changed drastically. There have been a whole lot of weddings (and divorces); babies born (and lost); hearts broken (and healed); and loved ones who have joined her on the other side.

Our family has endured many, many changes over the past thirty years. We were once a family who gathered regularly for holidays and special events. We took vacations together and filled restaurants to the gills. When you saw one of us…more than likely you were gonna see several of us at the same time. It was actually funny in high school because everyone knew the “Crimm Kids”…nobody could tell you who belonged to who, but it didn’t matter. They knew that the Crimm’s stuck together and that was all they needed to know.

As time has ticked away, our family has gradually shifted and separated. We don’t get to see each other regularly anymore. Most of the time we only cross paths if we are at a ball game, school event, grocery store, wedding, or funeral. Once every five years as many as possible travel to Montgomery to a Parole Hearing wearing our matching t-shirts and carrying her memory with us in our faces and our names. The shear number of people who attend those hearings each round says a lot about the heinous crime that the parolee committed.

When she died, there were certain things that we, as a family were not able to do for her…or ourselves. Today, we all came together to honor her in a way we couldn’t back then. It was special to be able to be in the Mountains (her favorite place on this earth), early in the morning, at the bottom of a waterfall with as many of the family members as possible.

Naturally, not everyone in her family was able to make the trip, but all five of her children, ten of her grandchildren, twenty-three of her great-grandchildren, her sister, one niece, and a whole slew of in-laws and friends were able to be there today. What a blessing!

I know that she would have been so happy to have everyone together. And, honestly…it made us all happy to be together as well.  Like every family, we have our share of problems…however today we set those aside and just focused on the life that our loved one lived…and lost…thirty years ago.

I can only speak for myself, but I feel sure that everyone who attended the memorial today felt a common emotion: Love.

Together we as a family have endured it, given it, lost it, yearned for it, learned from it, and grown closer because of it. Family is a special gift that not all are given…I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to be a part of a big one.

As we go into this week of Thanksgiving, please seek out your loved ones. Families are made up of all kinds of things…not just blood. Hug your people close and spend as much time as possible with them, because you never know when they might turn into a memory. When memories are all you have, thirty years can feel like an eternity.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Y’all…and always remember you are loved!

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Can I Get An Update?

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Welp, it has been a while since my last post. I just have to tell you that life has been BUSY! It is funny to me when people stop me in the store or shoot me a text asking where I went! LOL…so for those of you who want to know or are just plain curious about what the Hubbert Girls have been up to lately…here’s the rundown:

First, (because I know y’all all wanna know!) Bo and I are back together (yay!). We had several discussions and after being apart for about a week, we both decided that life without one another was just not fun. He and I have both had enough of not fun in life…so we have decided to just have fun together and enjoy each day as it comes. There is something very freeing about that decision.  There’s no pressure, no high expectations, and no worrying about things that are not worth worrying about! So, we are trying to find new and exciting things to do together with our kids and each other. So far, things are working out fantastically!! I have no clue where we will end up, but for now (and the foreseeable future!) we are gonna have as much fun as we possibly can!

Second, I have spoken at two different churches and one lady’s group recently…and I have more events scheduled on my calendar!!! I honestly cannot tell you how excited I am about all of these opportunities! God continues to open doors for me to share my story and it is so exciting! I have said many times that I never dreamed God wanted me to tell my own story. However, I see now that by sharing my story (as painful as it is) I am spreading His message and that is just awesome! My story is not about me…it is about what God has done through me that is important. I am so excited about the future and the things He has planned that I don’t know anything about yet! I still miss Greg Hubbert more than you could possibly imagine, but I know I’ll get to see him again one day. I remind myself daily that this life…these hectic days…these worries…this unique loneliness…is only temporary. I’m not sure the “missing him” part will ever go away, but it doesn’t threaten to consume me as badly as it once did. I know that this world is not my home…but it is where I have to live my life right now and I have to live it without Greg here with me. That reality is HARD, but I am determined to make the best of it! Greg wanted me to do that…and I want to do it for myself and our girls. Why choose sadness when there are so many fun and exciting things left to do?! It is a daily choice we all have to make…no matter what our circumstances are in life.

Third,  I’ve made some pretty big decisions on my own lately. One of the biggest was selling Greg’s truck and buying a vehicle for us to travel in. Talk about a huge decision! It was a big deal for me. The girls have been beyond excited about it though. It is not new, but it is new to us and we all three love it!  We even decided to get a personalized car tag (which I have never had before!). We talked about it and came up with a logo for ourselves. Building our ministry base, self-publishing books, and building a small business requires a logo or name…so we are going with “3 Girl Hill”! Look for us on Instagram, Facebook and lots of other places around town soon!

Lastly, we found out that ‘Burdens‘ is doing really well online! Yahoo! It is overwhelming to see something that I wrote actually being purchased by people whom I may never meet! Talk about weird! It is sooooo weird! But, if God will continue to use the words inside those covers to bless other people…then I can deal with a little weirdness! I believe it is called living on Faith! I have to be ready and willing to go outside of my own comfort zone and fully depend on God to take me (and the girls) where He wants us to go. I gotta say…so far it’s been a pretty good ride.

I reckon that catches everyone up on the latest Hubbert Girl’s adventures! I am writing and working on my second book and hope to have it finished by the end of the year. It is difficult to put a hard time limit on it though…because it is writing itself everyday. I’m going with my gut instinct on when I feel like it is finished. I’m not there yet.

Thanks for reading my little diary. Thanks for taking the time to pray for us. Thanks for continuing to share your stories with us, and thanks for encouraging us to keep going. Sometimes, that is easier said than done! Y’all will never know or understand how much your positive encouragement means to me and the girls. We love seeing and talking to folks all over the place…so if you see us out give us a shout! And, there is not a shy bone in Bo Gray’s body…so feel free to give him a shout as well! I can’t promise he won’t talk your ear off though….LOL!

Until next time…enjoy the little things y’all! Encourage one another…love one another..and just be kind to one another. Our crazy, jacked up world needs a whole lot more kindness…that’s for sure! Toodles….

 

The Bottom of the Cistern

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6So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud. 10The King commanded Ebed-Melech the Cushite, “Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies. 11So, Ebed-Melech took the men with him and went to a room under the treasury palace. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from there and let them down with ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. 12Ebed-Melech the Cushite said to Jeremiah, “Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms to pad the ropes.” Jeremiah did so 13 and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.” ~Jeremiah 38:6; 10-13

This week has been filled with emotions. Lots and lots of emotions, but the odd thing is…I still can’t feel them. It is so weird! I go through the motion of using the appropriate responses to certain emotions, but I can’t feel them on the inside. I am both thankful and upset by this situation. Here’s why:

Seven months ago I found myself sitting at the bottom of my own cistern (or well). I looked up the tall walls and saw the blue sky above me, but I had no way out. Being covered in the mud and gunk that grief covers you with, my hands and feet were too slippery to grab a hold of anything. Each time I tried to climb out, I fell right back down.

I kept sitting there hoping and praying that someone…anyone would help me out of that cold, dark pit. Then one day, out of nowhere came this man. He saw me at the bottom of the pit and even though he didn’t know me; he rescued me. He was from a different place (just like Ebed-Melech). He didn’t know how I got in the cistern, but he saw me sitting there at the bottom and he made the decision to give me what I needed in order to get out.

I didn’t know who Bo Gray was at the time; all I knew was that I desperately wanted out of that well and he was there offering to help. Over the past seven months he has pulled and pulled on the ropes. He joined forces with my family and closest friends and he pulled with all of his might.

On Tuesday, I walked out of the well.

When I stood up and looked around me, all I could see were the faces of those I loved the most standing next to me. Each one had put their hands on the rope and pulled with him. I couldn’t help but notice the blisters on each one of their hands. The pulling lasted longer than they thought it would. The job was harder than they imagined. There were times when they had to step back and take a break from pulling, because it was just too hard. Some of them came back. Some of them gave up. Some of them tried to set the rope on fire. But, not Bo.

He kept pulling and encouraging and showing me the way out of the darkness. His kindness and gentleness were a steady presence even when I slipped back down and the pulling had to start over again. He coaxed me to keep trying, to focus on what was just ahead of me. He warned me not to look to far ahead, but to focus on each brick as I climbed up and be thankful when it was finally behind me. He defended me from the ones who wanted to see me fail and he dared them to try to harm me again.

When I reached the top of the hole this week, I touched the grass…and felt the wind…and saw the people still standing there holding the rope. I looked them in the eye and told them, “Thank You”. I never would have gotten out without their help, but they couldn’t have gotten me out without Bo’s decision to gather the rags and worn-out clothes to pad my arms under the rope. See, He saw the big picture. He knew that just a rope would eventually cut my arms too deep and I wouldn’t be able to make it out. So, he gave me what I needed in order to reach the top.

When I stood up on Tuesday, I realized that I could never thank everyone enough for helping me make it out. And, I looked into Bo’s eyes and saw something that I knew I couldn’t give back. This fight had been too hard. And, the wounds that I have inside my body are still too deep.

So, after all of these months of working together to get where we needed to be we decided that for now at least; our job is done. We have stuck together and given each other the courage we both needed to be able to face the future and our pasts. Bo has now headed back to his foreign land where his home and family are waiting for him. He has responsibilities and things that only he can handle in that land. He is needed, because his job here is finished. He pulled me out and set me free.

Me? Well, I am standing on the edge of the well looking back on how far I have just climbed. I’m examining my wounds and dusting myself off. I’m looking around at who is left. The people who didn’t leave, get tired, or give up. I’m realizing who walked away when I needed them the most.

I am also waking up to the fact that I need time to heal from the deep gashes that have appeared all over my body from my fight to the top. The deepest one is inside my chest where my heart used to be. I need my family and my girlfriends to help me dress those wounds. I need time to just rest and let God work inside of me. And, I need time to face the sadness that caused me to be at the bottom of the well in the first place.

Before we turned to walk away, Bo and I looked each other in the eye and knew we had no regrets. We had given it our best and he had helped me get to a place I never could have gotten to on my own. I don’t know how to say thank you for what he did. The only thing I can think of is to give him the honesty and respect he so greatly deserves. Men like him don’t come around often. His kindness, loyalty, gentleness, laughter, and determination gave me what I needed to keep going when all I wanted to do was give up.

I don’t know if our paths will cross again one day. We are both on long, lonely roads that only we can travel…and we have to travel them alone. Are we walking parallel to one another? Are we headed in the same direction? Are we going as far as the east from the west away from one another? I honestly don’t know the answer to that…only time will tell.

Right now I’m sitting here nursing my wounds and thanking God for sending someone into my life who wasn’t afraid to help me out of the cistern. I can only hope and pray that he feels like his efforts were worth it. I know that one day, he will be rewarded for doing what was right when it seemed like the whole world was trying to make him give up.

When you pray, please pray for Bo. Pray for God to open the doors that need to be opened for him and pray for peace to invade his life. I am. Also, thank God for sending him to me and my girls. We wouldn’t be where we are physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually without his help. This world needs more men like him and I pray that one day he will understand just how special and important he truly is in the lives of the people around him.

So, now I’m heading down the road of life alone…but not really alone. I have my two girls, my family, and my friends. I have a calling that I have to figure out and a life that I need to try to live. It’s not easy, but I know God has something in store for me if I listen and don’t give up. He gave me what I needed to get out of the cistern; He will give me what I need to move ahead now.

With a grateful heart and tear stained cheeks, I’m looking into the hills and preparing for whatever comes next…

 

It’s Just Not Easy…

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OK, so y’all know by now I am all about telling the truth…right? I am. I have also found myself in a position to share my honest, raw, crazy life with the world. Why? God wants me to! I have stepped way outside of my own comfort zone in order to be obedient to the call God has placed on my life. And, it is not easy!

During this past year I have faced many trials. Many, many, many trials. I feel like I have learned how to cope reasonably well…but not in all things! What I am about to share with you will probably shock some of you…and I’m sorry about that…However, what God has done is too miraculous NOT to share…so I’m jumping off the cliff of my boundaries. Stop reading now if you aren’t prepared for what I’m about to say.

The week after Christmas last year was the single most difficult five days of my life. Yes, they were actually harder than this week was last year…if you can only imagine. During that week I battled with God and He gave me a new purpose and reason for living. As He revealed what He wanted from me; I could feel myself getting stronger on the inside, but I could not explain how exactly. I panicked when I fully understood what He was asking me to do. I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t do it. Mentally, Emotionally, and Spiritually I knew I was making progress back into the land of the living, but Physically I was struggling…big time.

See, I am an emotional eater. I go extreme when I am emotionally stressed out. I have zero self-control. I eat when I have no idea that I am eating. I eat for comfort..to feel better…to just do something that I like for goodness sakes!! Of all of the things a single, sad woman could be out doing…I was only choosing to eat! I mean, we all have to eat to survive right? Yeah…I may have been a little heavy handed with the self-righteousness around that time.

In January, I realized I needed some help. I had spent three months not eating at all and BAM! all of a sudden I was eating everything in sight. So, I reached out for help.

A friend of mine had gone to the Eaton Clinic in Tuscaloosa and had a lot of great things to say about her experience. Seeing her post on Facebook inspired me to call and make an appointment. Before the appointment I did a whole lot of beating myself up mentally. I had known how to conquer that giant in my life by using my beloved Advocare supplements for four years. The guilt of “giving in” instead of doing the hard work that was necessary was really bad. I mean, I knew what I needed to do to get control…but I lacked the ability to actually do it.

The day of the appointment I remember sitting in the little room waiting for the doctor to come in and talk with me. I already knew what the diet would be and I knew the schedule I needed to follow. I had all of the knowledge…and none of the backbone. Anyway, I sat there waiting that day and when the door opened it wasn’t Dr. Eaton like I thought it would be…it was his nurse practitioner, Brandi.

This is where God showed up. Brandi looked at my non-made-up face, my slumped shoulders, and my frumpy outfit. One look told her how miserable I truly was and I saw raw compassion fill her eyes. She said, “Tell me why you want to be here”.

So, I did.

When I finished telling her my story, she stopped and stared at me. In that moment, Brandi was seeing a patient and she was telling her patient how to loose weight. She had her spill that she probably says a hundred times a day that she was attempting to say when I shared my story with her. She looked at me and shock filled her face. She quickly looked down at my file in her hands and immediately tears started rolling down her cheeks. She said, “Oh, Emily! I have prayed for you…and your sweet girls! I have worried about you…and I watched your husband’s funeral procession on the news. My husband and his brothers at the Fire Department have been so concerned about you! I can’t believe you are really sitting here! We just talked about you again last night. We prayed for you again…last night”.

I was shocked! I sat there in stone cold silence and just stared at her face. I watched her tears. I understood what she had just said, but I could not process it. Then, I looked at her and said, “Help me find Emily again. Please.” And, she did!

Over the next couple of months I lost twenty-five pounds. I felt so good and I found a new lease on life. I began to attempt living again…and I looked forward to seeing Brandi each time I went to the office. I knew she was praying for me and a praying friend is worth more than silver or gold. My quiver is full of those jewels!

Fast forward to June. We had just gotten back from our big trip and I was determined to finish the house. I poured myself into working on it and decided I did not have time to go to Tuscaloosa right now. So, I stopped trying. In fact, I gave in to every temptation I had been able to avoid for four years. Temptations like Mt. Dew, Large Sweet Teas, Chocolate Candy for breakfast, M&M’s like a fountain, and Fried Chicken Fingers by the bucket. Can you say…complete fail? Yeah…complete fail.

It was easy to fool myself into believing I wasn’t gaining too much weight because I didn’t touch a scale until we went Ziplining in the Mountains for Labor Day. When I read the number on that scale I literally almost blacked out!

Knowing the one year mark was coming up, I told myself that I would just get by in order to get through the first anniversary of Greg’s home going. I also realized that I may be strong in some areas…but I am NOT strong when it comes to self-control and/or emotional eating. I am weak…very, very weak!

I called a trusted friend who has literally helped me every step of the way so far. She helped me understand where I was at the moment and how I needed to give myself some grace.

I am my own worst enemy.

Anyway, after talking to her I decided it was time to call the Eaton Clinic again. I needed to make an appointment to get myself back on track ASAP. Guess when they had an opening? Yep! Tuesday, September 20th!! I could NOT believe it!

I walked in to the office that day and was immediately met by K-Love playing on the speakers…and Bible verses posted on every wall…and familiar faces sitting in the waiting room. That’s when I knew I was doing the right thing for me. Only…it doesn’t end there. Oh no…it does not end there!

I found myself again sitting in the little room waiting when the door opened and Brandi walked in. I noticed that she looked more stressed than she did the last time I had saw her, but I didn’t say anything. She was all business and I knew she didn’t realize it was me sitting there. All of a sudden she stopped, checked the file, and said, “Emily! How are you?!”

I told her how I was…and she listened. Then, she told me that she had ordered my book sitting in one of the rooms with another patient who was reading it one day! She said, “I’ll have to tell Dr. Eaton I was shopping online I guess!” LOL…and it warmed my heart that she truly wanted to read my book. It also humbled me that someone was reading it in the office!

Brandi also shared her story with me and asked me to pray for her by name…and I promised her that I would. I feel like I should apologize to the other patients who were there waiting that day, because she and I had a long conversation that had absolutely nothing at all to do with why I was there. That was a God thing.

The details of life are so very, very important to God. I realize that now. I had the head knowledge that they were…and now I have the heart knowledge as well. I had 365 days to prepare for that Tuesday. I had worried about it and stressed about it and cried about it a whole lot. Yet, I had no idea how God had planned it all out for my good!

I needed time alone. The drive to T-Town gave me that time. I needed confirmation that I was doing the right thing for me. I got that confirmation. I needed a new focus for this second year without Greg, now I have it. I needed to make some good memories on that day for me and my girls. We did that too.

Our “Daddy Day” celebration was hugely successful. We welcomed over one hundred people into our home that same Tuesday night. We had hugs and smiles and stories galore. I never dreamed that the day could be so wonderful. I am still overwhelmed by the outpouring of love we received.

Now I see…Year number one was all about survival. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.

Year number two is about setting goals and crushing them.

Year number two is about teaching my girls to set goals and crush them as well.

I am so thankful that God has this whole thing called life planned out. I am so glad that I have a new reason to be obedient! I am also realizing that I am not taking the “easy” way out. I am asking for help where I am weak…so that one day I will be strong…and God has provided the people and the plan that will help me succeed.

If you are like me and you find yourself on the loosing end of the emotional eating battle…kick your pride to the side and get some help. I still have a long way to go, but I survived last year. I know I will crush the goals I have set for myself this year if I stay focused and connected. If I can do it…so can you!!

Please y’all…If you don’t hear anything else that I say, please hear this: The little details of your life matter…always. Nothing happens by chance or by accident. Listen to what God wants you to do and push yourself forward. You are making a choice to loose by not making a choice to win. You get that right? I didn’t…but boy hidey…I do now!

So there. The secret is out. Don’t waste a single moment by not telling it! LOL…and for the love of all things good…If you see me with an M&M…call me out! It takes the village to raise a child, and I’ve got some growing up to do!

Girls Trip!

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Girls Trip!

Well, days like today do NOT come around very often. My friend Dwan and I drove down to the Alabama gulf coast yesterday morning. We both decided that we needed a break from reality, home, and life in general. I am so thankful that we did!

The radio is not working in Dwan’s car and since she had won the coin toss 2bf8c4b2-0b11-40cb-ac70-df176c9799cbfor who’s vehicle we were taking, she was worried that we would get bored on our ride down here. Uh, we did not get bored! We literally talked the entire five hours! Our lives are so busy and we rarely get to spend much time together so we had a lot to catch up on.

We stopped at Dirt Cheap (y’all know how much I love Dirt Cheap!) in Thomasville and I found several sets of sheets for the girls’ beds. Then, we drove on down to Mobile where we stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat lunch. It was so good!! Thank goodness!!

After lunch, we continued on South to Gulf Shores. We stopped at a nail salon in Foley before reaching our condo for a mani and pedi. By this point we were both feeling the stress of our real lives slip away and we were just having a good time.

After finding our condo for the weekend, we decided to check out a local restaurant that a friend of ours had suggested. All of the food is made fresh and is supposed to be very good. I personally would not know because I never got my food. For the full story…watch this video! It is kind of long, but trust me it is hilarious! LOL…

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Two hours of laughing kind of wears one out. So, we turned in and decided to just rest and enjoy the sounds of the open doors and the rolling waves for the night.

This morning we did absolutely nothing. It was wonderful. We weren’t in a hurry to get anywhere; there were no kids to tend to; and we didn’t have the first plan for what we wanted to do except lay on the beach and soak up the sun.

Around 11:00 we decided to get ready to head down to the sand. Since I was half starved we ordered a Papa John’s pizza for lunch. I am so proud to say it was delivered on time and it was delicious!

The sky has been covered with clouds and the rain has fallen several times, but the sun does peak through every now and then. I took a little walk down the beach and noticed that there are A LOT of groups of women down here. I remembered that I had noticed quite a few groups of women last night as well…so it got me to thinking. Is this the unofficial Girls Trip weekend?

I was down here last year for my cousin’s wedding with my mom, sisters, and cousins around this same time. We had a ball and laughed a lot. This weekend I have laughed a lot too. Which makes me wonder: Are girl trips the answer to avoiding nervous breakdowns?! I’m gonna say a big ol’ huge YES!!

Girl trips are good for the soul. They help us remember who we are as individuals. Ya know? I have laughed and acted silly and made a 16 minute live video of me laughing which my normal “reserved” self would never have done at home! I have relaxed and watched my friend relax too. We have discussed our lives, our hopes, our dreams, our hurts, our anger, our kids, our jobs, and our spiritual battles. We have cried and we have been sad. Yet, my whole body feels relaxed.

I have not fully recognized just how sad I have been lately. I didn’t give myself enough credit for just being sad all over. I have been sad… all over.

Sitting here today listening to the waves and feeling this cool breeze makes me realize that my soul needed a break. I needed to be able to step out of my reality for just a few minutes and let all of the stress that is my life slip away. I am so thankful that God knew that I needed this and He worked it out. Dwan needed it too. Together we have both realized that sitting still and doing nothing is exactly what we needed.

Tonight we will go to dinner. I am hoping and praying it goes better than last night! You can bet I will make a video about it if it does not! LOL

If you are sitting at home feeling like you might loose your mind if one more person leaves clothes on the floor…or has another practice to be at…or needs a bill paid…or food to eat…hear me when I tell you this: Grab a girlfriend…or six…and head to the nearest beach, lake, cabin, or mountain and just let yourself relax. You are worth it!! It does matter and it will actually make you a better person.

I can already like myself more today than I did yesterday. It’s true!

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So, make it happen. Do what you don’t think you can do. Drop everything and put yourself in a car with a friend, turn off the radio, and find YOU again! Your family, friends, co-workers, and spouses will love you more for it! It doesn’t have to cost a lot…but the rewards will last a very long time!

It may well be another whole year filled with life changing events before I find myself on another girls trip, but I hope not! I didn’t know how much I needed this one, but I am forever thankful that Dwan asked if I wanted to run away for the weekend…and that I said YES!!

Stepping out of your normal day to day and just stopping for a little while is good. Very, very, very good.

 

A Passionless Life is a Living Death

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A Passionless Life is a Living Death

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This past weekend, the girls and I used our Christmas presents and went to Dollywood. We all had season passes and since it was a holiday weekend, we figured it was the best thing to do. We had a great time! It was our second trip with just the three of us. We spent the entire weekend together and never saw one person that we knew. It was kind of odd…we always see at least one person that we know in the mountains!!

On Saturday I stood in line with Maggie and Linnie at the Fire Chaser Express. This ride is dedicated to the firemen (a strange coincidence…) of Sevier County, TN. As I stood in line, I absently clicked onto Facebook to pass the time. That’s when I saw my friend Miranda’s post. She was letting everyone know that her awesome husband had gone to Heaven early that morning. The tears rolled down my face in waves as I read her status. My heart broke for her in a million ways. The girls saw my tears and asked me what was the matter. I told them about Michael and that he was now in Heaven with their Daddy. We all just stood there and cried, because we knew all to well how much pain Miranda and her girls were in at that moment. I just tried really hard not to ugly cry…the poor people next to us just tried their best to not stare at the three of us crying our eyes out. I immediately sent Miranda a text and said a prayer for peace to invade all of their hearts.

Miranda and I had talked many times over the last few weeks. We both knew that this day was coming. We both realized that we would be kindred spirits knit together in this blanket of grief for the rest of our lives. We knew it was gonna happen in our minds…but nothing prepares your heart for when it actually does happen.

The next day we made it a point to be at church inside the park. Dolly Parton had the most amazing idea ever when she decided to put a real church inside of her amusement park. It is open to everyone each Sunday all year long. The little wooden structure is perfect. There are long wooden pews with song books and Bibles scattered across the tops. People pack in and even fill the choir loft so that more people can fit inside.

Mrs. Rose is the song leader. She has worked at Dollywood for 31 years…and she has lead the singing at that little church for the past 20 years. It was a  blessing for me to sit there and sing with people from all over creation. I am sure Mrs. Rose thinks it is a blessing as well!

On this particular day the regular minister was away, so Bro. Mark filled in for him. I have heard Bro. Mark speak on several occasions over the years and he always has a great message. One thing that makes him so great is that he is a Kindergarten teacher! Bro. Mark is in his late 50’s I would say and he is wonderful! Think Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood…so kind, so smart, and so understanding! His messages are always clear and easy to understand with a good dose of humor thrown in here and there. This week his message was entitled, “A Passionless Life is a Living Death”.

Bro. Mark said that living without passion…every day…is not really living. He encouraged all of us to live a life worth sharing. When he said, “It is not what happens to you…it is what happens when what happens to you happens” I was dumbfounded! He is so right!! God did not put us here to just go through the motions…he put us here to LIVE. But how are we supposed to live when our worst nightmares come true? His answer: Live FORWARD!

When we spend our life looking back, we loose sight of the possibilities of what is ahead. There is a purpose and a meaning for our past. We can learn from it. We can cherish it or we can hate it. Either way, the only reason to ever look back on it for more than a few moments is to learn from it. That’s the only reason to ever look back. We shouldn’t look back hoping to have what was…we should look back to learn what we want and need in the future. Isn’t that an awesome truth?

He used an example from the movie City Slickers. In the movie all of the characters tell about their best and worst days. Each person goes through his best day…and why. Then, each person tells about their worst day…and why. Bro. Mark challenged us to do the same thing. So, I did.

I looked back on that Sunday nearly one year ago, and I realized that my worst fear came true. I lost the one man I had ever loved with all of my heart. I couldn’t imagine living my life without him before that day. I would have to say that September 20, 2015 was the worst day of my life. Miranda might say that September 3, 2016 was the worst day of her life (she hasn’t, but she could I guess). I could also say that December 21, 2001 was the worst day of my life. That’s the day Dr. Jim took my 13-week old baby out of my tummy and we had to leave his (I always believed it was a boy) tiny body at the hospital. I will never forget how Greg wept as he drove us home that day without our baby.

The best day would have been January 9, 1999. Or, maybe it was July 9, 1999? Maybe it was May 18, 2006. No, that was probably the worst day….nope the best…uh…I’m really not sure. Both maybe? Or, maybe it was July 17, 2007. All of those days turned out pretty good actually.

Do you get where I’m going here? Looking back has taught me many, many lessons about life. I’ve learned to live, love, and learn from my past. But, I can’t stay in the past. I can only look back occasionally and learn from what I see. Living…truly living…happens now. Today…and every today that is to come in the future. The thing is…how am I gonna live those days?

I’ve tried real hard to live them sad. Trust me! I’ve done my dang-dest to mope and cry my way through more of them than I care to admit. Why? What did I get out of choosing to let those emotions rule me? Well, for one thing I was able to grieve. I have loved…and I have lost. How many people can truly say that? I was a lucky one. Miranda was lucky too.

Looking back helped me to deal with the huge loss that was my life. I’m still not sure what to do with myself most of the time, but I do know one thing for sure: I want to live a passionate life! I don’t want to miss a thing if I can help it!

I want to experience everything I possibly can! I want to see things that my mind can’t comprehend! I want to travel…and travel….and travel! I want to push myself past my comfort zone! I want to stretch the limits of what I am capable of doing! I want to make a difference in someone else’s life! I want to truly…honestly…deeply…passionately…LIVE!

It is a choice and it is not always an easy choice. Life itself is HARD. There are days that I swear are gonna kill me, but guess what? When I lay down at night…so far at least….I have always woken up the next morning. Do you know what that means? God is not finished with me yet. He has something He wants me to do. He has something He wants you to do as well. Don’t waste your life. Don’t live everyday looking back! Choose to look forward…and only look back when you need to learn something about yourself. Be glad and thankful for your past…all of it. Then, straighten your shoulders and charge forward.

God made us with a desire to learn. He gave us a sense of curiosity and longing to know more. His Word tells us that “if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart”. How awesome is that?!

Today was a sad day for my sweet friend and her two little girls. It was a sad day for a small town who lost a great man…a great police officer…a great husband…a great father…a great friend. My heart breaks for my friend who is now walking along this road with me. It is time to mourn…and weep. It is time to be sad and wish that things were different….but they can’t stay that way forever. We must all decide once and for all to live lives that are full of passion and joy. I know Greg did that…Michael did that too. They finished their race…now it is up to the rest of us to pick up the pieces where they left off. We can’t live in the past, but we can learn from what they taught us.

Michael and Greg left legacies behind that few men can match. They made a difference in the world around them. They stood for what they believed and they didn’t back down when things got tough. They were both Godly men who were humble and kind. They loved their wives more than life itself. They spoiled their two little girls rotten and set the bar extremely high in the best daddy category. They were fine, Christian men who left this world entirely too soon. Yet, God had a plan for those two boys. He has a plan for all of the girls they left behind as well.

Today, my resolve to live a life full of fun and excitement was strengthened. I watched my sweet friend stand beside her man for the last time. I felt her sorrow and her hurt. I know how deep the hole is in her soul. I understand…but I won’t let her give up on life. Together she and I will face the rest of our lives head on. Pray for us. Pray for our girls. Pray for the lives affected by our losses. We can’t change were we are, but we can change our future. We can choose to live…and by doing so I truly believe we are making a difference. Time here is short, but oh so sweet!

Our lives will never, ever be the same…and that’s ok. I can only speak for myself, but I know that I don’t want “the same” anymore. I just want LIFE…abundant LIFE full of passion and living. I want to choose joy instead of sadness. I want to grow strong mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I want to go where I never dreamed I could go. I want to smile my real smile once again. Then, when it comes my time to leave I hope people will say: She truly lived until she died.

 

Chapter 14 maybe? Smile Again…

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I’m not real sure what number this chapter will be, but I’m guessing it will be near the middle. My next book, Smile Again is a letter to myself. Within those pages I will have some very, very  low moments and some very, very high moments. One thing y’all know by now is that it will be raw, real, and honest. Hold on to your hats…this chapter is about to be as real as it gets…

“I’ve found a number of truths over the past ten months. I’ve searched them out and I’ve dug for answers when digging wasn’t easy. I’ve found myself standing still, mouth dropped open, staring at people who had just said something so hurtful and outrageous more times than I can count. I’ve gotten mad, cussed a lot, and thrown quite a few hissy fits. I’ve written things on my computer screen that burned my own eyes and I erased it before it could burn out someone else’s!

I’ve felt sorry for other people who have gone out of their way to run me down and talk about me behind my back. I’ve prayed fire and brimstone on several people’s heads and then kicked myself and crawled to God asking Him for forgiveness. I’ve failed miserably in my daily walk through this life and I’ve cried more tears in ten months than in all of the rest of my life combined.

My hurt, fear, anger, and disappointment with God, Greg, and life in general threatened to consume me at one point. And, I almost let it. Thankfully, I have a Mama and a God who love me despite my awful self. Without them holding me accountable, I don’t know what I might have done to more than one person in my life. I don’t back down easily, especially when I’m angry. However, it literally makes me sick to have to engage in arguments. I don’t handle those situations well at all. I don’t handle disappointing people or letting them down in any way easily either. I truly hate it. I prefer sunshine and rainbows…don’t you?

Too bad that’s not how life works. Man, I wish it were though!! Wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to sail smoothly through life with no worries, problems, losses, or tears? I blame Eve for all of this…a little self-control would have helped us all out girlfriend! Just a little smidge of SELF-CONTROL. Ugh!

Instead, she had to give in and eat that piece of forbidden fruit and the rest of us have to live with her extremely bad decision. It’s so not fair. Deep down inside of me is that really mean Emily that just wants to slap Eve until she turns blue. Ya know? I mean how selfish could she possibly be? One bite and every person ever to be created after her has to suffer. Seriously?!

I look around me today and I see so many people hurting. I have friends and family who are watching their loved ones loose their fight against cancer. I have people who share the pain and agony they are feeling with me now because they lost their spouse also. I am witnessing children who can’t figure out how to move forward without their parent and it breaks my heart. All because one woman didn’t exercise a tiny  bit of self-control.

Does that make anyone else mad? Or is it just me? Maybe I’m just MAD. Sometimes, I truly believe it helps to get rip roaring, guns blazing, sword swinging, chair throwing MAD. Jesus did. He got mad and he cleaned some plows. I believe I know exactly how he felt when he cleaned out that courtyard right about now.

I don’t know for sure, but I’d be willing to bet that those poor souls’ lack of self-control was the final straw for Jesus that day. We already know it was the final straw for Eve. Today, I’m saying it’s the final straw for me, too.

People who do not exercise self-control when it comes to running their mouths about things they know nothing about DRIVE ME INSANE. And, more than that….People who call themselves Christians and tilt their heads like they are holier than thou and talk about other Christians behind their backs make me want to throat punch them. Too bad I know how to exercise self-control in times like these…

I realized today that I truly am feeling emotions again. I haven’t “felt” anything for ten months. I’ve reacted to feelings by smiling, laughing, crying, and listening; but I haven’t FELT them. It’s just so weird. It’s also sad to me that the first thing I truly felt was anger. Why couldn’t it have been happiness? Why did my first feeling have to be anger? Dang you, Eve!

Hump. Well, I guess I have a choice to make. I can either stay MAD and find some tables to throw around…or I can take a deep breath and calm down. Which one will I choose? Probably the one that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg! Haha!

Seriously, I guess I just have to do like God does and forgive the ignorance and the lack of self-control some people have. I guess I’ll just pray for them and ask God to forgive my very, very bad thoughts about them as well. I guess I’ll just let all of the negativity roll off of my back like water off of a duck’s back. I refuse to be bitter. I refuse to be hateful, hurtful, or mean spirited. I refuse to let Satan win. I will run to my Savior and I will beg for him to protect me.

I’m not fighting this battle alone. Thank goodness!! It makes me sad to realize how awful this life can be, but it also makes me happy to know that this isn’t all there is! I’m gonna focus on the end goal. I’m gonna seek out happiness. I’m gonna do whatever it takes to not give in to my sinful self. And, I’m not gonna throw any tables around just yet.  I hope you see me trying, God. It’s so hard, but I am trying.” ~ excerpt from Smile Again, ©2017 by Emily Hubbert

 

Kindred Spirits

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Kindred Spirits

A few weeks ago I was asked to speak at a ladies club meeting to be held at the public library in a local town. I was honored to be asked and excitedly marked the date on my calendar. The lady who contacted me was a very sweet woman with a wonderful Southern accent. We had several telephone conversations and I must say that I was more than a little bit excited to meet her in person.

When I walked into that library today, I honestly felt like I was on the set of Steel Magnolias. Mrs. Pat is one of the most vivacious, happy, outgoing women I have ever had the privilege to meet. She scooped me into a warm hug and introduced me to everyone in the room within minutes of my arrival. She spoke to both of the my girls; asked their names and ages; and then proceeded to introduce them to everyone in the room as well. All three of us were just kind of in awe for a few minutes. Kindness radiated from her very core and it didn’t take long to realize that everyone…young and old absolutely adored her.

Mrs. Pat introduced me to the crowd of about twenty ladies who were all a good bit ummmm…more mature than me. They had all gathered to hear my story and to talk about my book. Local authors, it seems tends to draw quite a crowd and each person wanted to hear about my book. I did not know before I started speaking that every lady seated around the room was a widow…except three or maybe four.

As I began to speak and share my story with the group I could feel God leading me to say some things that I haven’t said before. Now, I understand why. These ladies were kindred spirits. They had all walked the same road I am walking…and each one of them had a story that was just as raw and real as my own.

I talked for about thirty minutes and then the crowd lined up for me to sign their books. I was amazed as each lady told me snippets of her story as she passed through the line. The all had good Southern names like Barbara, Frankie, Joyce, Mary, Chloe, Dorothy, and Sarah. Most of them had children and grandchildren. Some had owned business. Some had been stay-at-home moms before there was such a thing. Some had been married for over 50 years…and one sweet lady had been widowed three times.

Listening to these ladies share their stories and seeing their faces as they talked opened my eyes to the truth of where we are: we are survivors. We are women who have dug deep into ourselves and our Bibles in order to keep on living. We have faced death and we made the decision to keep on going despite it. We face the same struggles, the same fears, the same sadness.

Frankie, who lost her husband just before Christmas kind of laughed through her tears when I quietly asked her if she was sleeping. She responded, “What’s that?”. “Oh, sweet lady,” I said, ” how I understand!”

And, Dorothy who drove from another county just to meet me. She told me our stories were very similar and she just wanted to meet me in person when she saw my article in the newspaper. The handwritten letter she slipped into my hand for me to read later proved that yes, yes our stories are very similar. I hope my eyes shine like hers when I am in my mid-eighties. I hope I seek out opportunities to be a blessing to others like she did for me today.

And, Joyce who was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 6 and lost her husband of over 40 years on June 10. She didn’t get to stop and grieve…she had to keep on going and she did. She’s doing great now. The smile on her face and the squaring of her shoulders proved it.

After each book was signed, Mrs. Pat invited everyone to go over to the local café for lunch. She had already reserved the side room and they were expecting us to be there…so we went. Maggie, Linnie, and I sat in the middle of a long table eating fried chicken, green beans, and chugging sweet tea as these wonderful ladies continued to share more of their lives with us.

We sat mesmerized as Mrs. Pat shared her kayaking adventure this past weekend…and we eagerly shared our own. We listened as tales were told of travels in the years past and plans for more in the future. We sat in awe of the colorful conversation about 3:00 a.m. games of Words with Friends. We listened as they talked about knowing each other was ok if they were up playing that “21st century game” in the wee hours of the morning. We laughed as Frankie smartly said, “I don’t CARE to be involved in the 21st century!” as Mrs. Pat teased her about her lack of knowledge in this area.

I also noticed that each lady had a piece of pie or caramel cake for dessert. I laughed when Linnie saw one lady eating more pie than chicken…Mrs. Pat noticed it too and made a comment about saving dessert for AFTER lunch. The lady smartly replied, “Why? It’s good and I always eat my dessert with my food. It makes everything else taste better”. Linnie shot me a look that clearly said, “SEE…she does it so why can’t I?”. The fact that the lady in trim, healthy, and in her mid-seventies kind of ruled out any reasons as to “why not”.

Maggie watched the ladies with a quietness that I often see her study things around her. She was soaking up everything each woman said and she was committing it to memory. We smiled at each other at one point because we both knew this was a day to remember.

Truvy I will forever treasure this day. Meeting these ladies. Seeing their smiles and hearing their laughter. I will remember them on the days I don’t think I can keep on going…and I will force myself to live each day to the fullest, because I saw them do it. I will continue to seek out the good times and I will let myself be sad over the old times. I will pick myself up and dust off my britches…and I will square my shoulders and keep on going. I believe my girls will also.

Thank you, God for today. Thank you for showing me what it looks like down the road. Thank you for showing me love and for the assurance that one day I will feel that emotion way down deep inside my heart again. I won’t be in survival mode forever…one day I’ll really be living again. I know that now, because of today. And, I am so thankful.

 

Prepare to be Amazed…

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Prepare to be Amazed…

Do you keep a journal? I admit, I am not the most consistent journal keeper…but I have kept one (or more like seven!) over the past few years. This morning I decided to go back and read some of them.

Y’all…I am AMAZED at what I wrote! AMAZED I tell ya!

See, 2005 through 2012 were some really difficult years for me. I was desperate for change in my life and no matter how hard I tried it just seemed to get harder and harder. I wanted OUT of my stress filled life. I was sick of my life in general. I had put myself on auto pilot and was just kind of drifting through life with no real purpose. I guess you could say I was just going through the motions. I wasn’t really living.

On October 10, 2009 (My birthday!) I went to a Beth Moore conference in Memphis, TN with the ladies from my church. Here is what I wrote in my journal when I got home: “What a wonderful weekend! I enjoyed it [conference] so much! God has so much to say and I am trying to learn how I should listen. I tend to get in my own way too often.” Then, I listed my prayer concerns and numbered them.

Here is number 7:

     My dreams:

  1. Get my house back if it is God’s will
  2. Write a book in Your name (God’s name)
  3. Travel far and wide with my family
  4. The dreams You have for me ~ that they will be revealed in Your Time!

On June 23, 2011 I wrote:

 “Today is the first day of the rest of my life! Three years of emotional healing are complete ~ now the physical healing begins. We are moving back home soon. Being back on our land will be very exciting. God says, ‘I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper and heal you~ I believe that! The hard work is about to start, however I know that God has my back! I CAN do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me! My list of long term goals and my bucket list follows. These are the things I want and pray that God allows me to do one day.’

Number One? TRAVEL!!!!

Number Seven? Hike as many mountain trails as possible!

Number Nine? Write a Book!

Number Eleven? Go Ziplining!!!

Do you have goosebumps yet? I know I do!!! As I kept reading I saw several exercises that I did that aligned with some books I was reading at the time. One such exercise came from The Path by Laurie Beth Jones. Here is what I wrote:

“My mission is to Appreciate, Motivate, and Write about Life for my family and other families. I want to travel near and far to reach out to those families. My dream life would look like this: I would be traveling often. I would be talking to many people and enjoying the small things more. I would be making people laugh and I would enjoy working. My kids would travel with me and we would try every new adventure we could find. I would write several books and put a fun spin on the everyday ordinary life – and get paid to write instead of writing for free. People would seek me out and ask me to speak. God, my savior would be glorified through me always”.

Andy Andrews said yesterday (on the CD I was listening to in my car…we are buds…he just hasn’t realized it yet! Ha!!) that we are in control of the path our lives take. We get to choose what happens and we set those things in motion when we write them down and persist without exception. I think he may be on to something there!! LOL

I am sharing this with y’all today because I KNOW that some of you are living on autopilot just like I was in 2009. I know that you are desperate for change and for things to get better. I know how lonely, desperate, and yep…jealous I was during that time in my life. I thought the grass was greener everywhere, but where I was and I wanted an easy way out of my misery….but I was WRONG!

Andy reminded me yesterday that the mountain tops are bare…and cold…and it’s hard to breathe. But, we find trees and flowers and living things in the valleys! Reaching the mountain top is a good goal…but we can’t stay there once we reach the top. We have to go back down and walk through the valleys again to gain the strength we need to climb the next mountain and reach the next goal. Reading my old journals reminded me that I have been walking towards a new mountain for a while now.

I never saw my life being like it is today. I didn’t see the devastating blow that would send me into a tail spin. I didn’t calculate that particular detail into my master plan…but you know what? I’m still moving towards my mountain top. I still have the same core goals that I have always had…I still have dreams of doing great things for God’s kingdom. I didn’t loose those dreams when my world imploded…they grew!

I hope this post encourages someone today. I hope that you see HOPE in your own future. I hope you are not nearly as miserable as I was (and still am some days). I hope you will set your life in motion and start walking towards your life mission. The only person that can start that process is YOU. Best of luck to ya…and remember you are not alone on your journey.