A Little Bit About Me

This seems maybe a little egocentric and self-absorbed, but sometimes it is nice to know the people behind the blog. I enjoy seeing people on WordPress and portions of their life.

Here’s a bit of mine. This is me. Posing, apparently.

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This is definitely me as a cartoon (bitmoji).

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I am a former homeschooling mom. I taught my oldest from 1st Grade to 12th. She just graduated. Here’s a few of her grad photos which I took myself to save money, although I do not consider myself much of a photographer.

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She’s on the Autism Spectrum, which makes life interesting. But she’s a really sweet kid. She likes to write on Wattpad and play games on her phone. We are trying to help her get a job, but with her diagnosis, it’s been not the easiest thing. Social skills and academically, she lags behind everyone else, but her personality is really so calm and sweet. She doesn’t have a lot of the behavioral issues a lot of kids on the spectrum have. It’s not without difficulties, but it makes things easier when you have a sweet kid.

I also have two other children, age 16 and 12.

This is my middle child that likes to give us a run for our money.

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This is an older picture from about 2 years ago when she was 14. She cut her hair all off when I wasn’t home. I cried. But now she looks like this, minus the photo prop.

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I probably complain about her a lot on my blog, but she’s a super gifted teenager. She is awesome at doing makeup, has mad hair styling skills, and is super artistic. Here’s some of her drawings from last year in art class.

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She suffers from depression and has made attempts on her life. This is often stressful. It hasn’t been an easy road, but I’m trying to see the good in things these days instead of focusing solely on what’s awful. Because there is a lot of awful sometimes.

And here’s the youngest. He’s 12 now. This pic is also not current, but is one of my favorites.

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Here’s a rare moment where he and his sister are actually not fighting. They kind of get on each other’s nerves.

My youngest is high energy, loves the outdoors, and is addicted to his computer and youtube gaming channels. He’s a pretty happy kid overall, but he’s hitting the teen years which makes life so much fun!

Of course, here’s my husband and I. Couldn’t do life without this guy.

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He works in IT and although he thinks he sucks, he’s really quite handy. I never figured him for the type to know how to fix up our house or car or do home projects, but he’s pretty amazing at all of it. He is a hard worker and puts up with my crap, so he must be an angel.

Oh, and here’s my dog, Lily. She’s our silly black Labrador.

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Besides all of the above, I work from home for a local company maintaining their website. I also still am pretty busy with my kids, driving them to mental health appointments, jobs, and other places they need to be. Motherhood is never a smooth ride.

I started this blog initially as a way to work through the spiritual abuse of a church I was in. They were extremely conservative and after 3 years, I was quite the mess. It’s taken me another 3 years to really unravel what I believe and what I don’t. I’m still working on that though. I still believe in God, but I have a lot of doubts about many other things and I definitely will never return to church. It’s not a safe place for me or my family.

Currently, I’m trying to work on my health–mental, emotional, and physical because all of this has definitely taken a toll on me over the years. The one thing I can control is my health. I blog about the church, but also about other topics that come to mind. I prefer to be real and write authentic posts. Or whatever I feel like…I’m not really into posting on only one topic.

So that’s my life these days…in a bit of a nutshell. It’s a crazy, fun, chaotic, and adventurous life. Thanks for sticking through this post. Hopefully I get to know you better too!

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Be Afraid

After my last few days, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to go kayaking. Kayaking? You bet! And within an hour, I was rushing to her house for our adventure.

Kayaking is something I’ve always wanted to do but have never done. Sure I’ve paddle boated, canoed, and swam in lakes before so kayaking didn’t seem all that difficult. You just get in a boat and paddle, right? Plus I loved swimming so if I did happen to fall over, I could handle it.

I put on my life jacket and carried the kayak down the hill to the docking area. The hill was pretty steep and the kayak was awkward but I got it in the water, got in, and shoved myself out into the lake. But I immediately noticed 2 things: 1) staying centered and balanced on the kayak was harder than it looked and 2) I had no idea what I was doing.

My friend was rather skilled at this whole thing. On the other hand, I was getting water in my kayak from my paddles, my shorts were all wet, and I couldn’t keep up with her. I got tired easily too. But I was having fun and getting out of my house was what I really needed. The lake was beautiful so I decided not to complain or be annoyed at my lack of skill.

At some point, I realized this kayak business was kind of tricky. Mostly because the lake had boats and the waves had a mind of their own. When a wave would come my way, I’d stop paddling and sit still. If I moved at all, I noticed my kayak start to tip.

My friend suggested we stay closer to the shoreline so the boats didn’t hit us. So we were traveling back after venturing to the end of the lake, about 45 minutes one way. Two jet skis passed back and forth. I was trying to avoid hitting my friend and tipping her over when it happened.

I fell out of my kayak.

At first it was funny. But then I realized that I needed to get back in my kayak but it was filling up with water. I mustered all my upper body strength and tried to swim with it. If I didn’t have a life jacket, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to swim with the waterlogged kayak. I tried heading towards the shore but the water was deep. I tried not to think about the green stuff floating around or the green algae and what was possibly living in there.

My friend took my paddle so I had one less thing to worry about and made it to shore. I kept going. I finally was able to feel the ground, which felt like a mushy poopy diaper. Oh and my shoes were in the kayak floating around. I was trying not to lose those too.

I did panic a bit because I felt like I might drown. Not feeling the bottom of the lake was pretty scary. I also had to hold on to a very heavy kayak and so that felt like it was pulling me down too. And the entire time, the two jetski people didn’t stop to help or just stop making waves so I felt anxious and scared. When I got to the shore, I dropped down on the sand. I was so shaky.

I settled down and my friend told me I was a good sport. She couldn’t tell I was anxious at all. I was joking about it mostly to ease my anxiety so maybe that’s why.

I managed to get back in the kayak after dumping the water out and spent another half hour trying to paddle cautiously back to where we came. The waves from boats still hit my kayak, but I tried to be as balanced as I could.

We got out and loaded the kayaks back in the van and headed home. I was joking around about mushy algae, fish eating my toes, and lake amoeba. My friend was nearly crying from laughing so hard. She kept apologizing and I would make another funny comment and we’d laugh even harder.

The thing is I would do it again. Sure it’s scary to flip over in deep water, but sometimes a little adrenaline is a good thing.

Lately I have been telling my husband how when you are our age, there is a lull. You find your routine. All the exciting life milestones like marriage and kids come and go. Then you feel either bored with life or stressed out by it. It isn’t often you feel the blood pumping, nature in your face, and laughing until you cry. Mostly, you set into your normal and become apathetic and indifferent. Every day feels the same after awhile.

At least it has for me.

So falling out of a kayak and being faced with fear was a good thing. For once, I felt alive to the world. And knowing that people worried about me and kept saying “I’m glad you are OK!” made me feel like I wasn’t just existing.

Sometimes it’s good to do things that scare you. It might just save your life.

Getting rid of social media

Last year I had a blog that I was trying to monetize. I thought maybe it would be fun to try to make money myself from blogging. I spent lots of money, time, and energy on it only to realize it wasn’t me. Expensive lesson, I guess.

In the process, I had social media everything. I had Facebook pages, Twitter for business, and Instagram for business. I signed up to Medium and Quora as writer and expert question answer-er. I basically spent all my free time living online.

I still have two blogs that I paid for but I’m finding them annoying. I rarely ever post on either one and when it comes time to renew my hosting, I will just cancel them. Feels like a bit of a waste but I can’t envision sucking more money or time into it. Its just not something that brings me joy.

I’m finding I need things to be really simple. If someone wants to know about me, they could call or text me. On my social media pages, no one even seems to care what I say. So why keep up the charade? And I’m tired of trying to keep up with people online. At the end of the day, it’s all self absorbed BS. My life is better without it.

I just spent about an hour unsubscribing from countless blogs I used to follow. They are all the same, honestly: Here’s the bait, here’s the hook, buy my stuff. That’s just not me and why my blog ended up failing. I hate con jobs and most blogs are like that.

The older I get, the more I realize that my energy needs to be put in things that actually matter. You know the story of how to get rid of things: hold it in your hands and if it doesn’t bring you anything but joy, it goes. That’s exactly how I feel these days with everything–relationships, technology, social media, belongings, or requests for my time. I no longer feel obligated except to myself and to my immediate family.

So it makes sense to declutter and detach from the online world. I enjoy this blog because it’s my expression and there’s no obligation to anyone or anything. It’s just me being me. It’s ok if only a few read it or none at all. I’m not parading myself to the masses to get subscribers.

But social media doesn’t bring me joy. It brings a lot of regret, negativity, and annoyances though. Therefore, with the exception of email and this blog, it can go bye-bye. I will be deleting all my accounts going forward.

I wish people didn’t solely communicate on Facebook or Twitter but they often do. So my world is very small and the people in it, dwindling. That’s ok. What’s important will be easier to define when the chaos of social media and the pretense is gone. It will be easier to pick out those who truly cared from the crowd because the smokescreen that is social media will be long gone.

Fear of the Unknown

I told him that sometimes I see how fast the last 40 years has gone and I feel like the next 40 will fly by too.

He said he feels that way too sometimes.

I said when I was young, everyone dreamed of 1) getting married, and 2) having children. Now in a sense, that dream is over. They are growing up and will be gone before I know it. No one dreams of being old.

But old we will be. It’s hard to believe I’ve spent my entire adult life with him. It’s hard to believe that one day one of us will die first. Will it be me? Or him?

And what will become of the other who is left to hold the family together?

Families change when parents die. This, I cannot control nor will I try to. But it is a sad fact of life. Death of your parents changes so many things.

But being left here without him scares me too. I usually try not to think of it. But lately I do. It’s so hard for us lately. It would be even harder if one of us wasn’t here to help the other.

Of course, I can’t think too much of that. Because he is here. We still ARE. But it’s that unknown road ahead that I struggle so much with. Will I outlive him? My kids? Will I have to face some scary disease? I don’t think I’m brave enough to handle more of life’s blows.

There’s such a false sense of security when you are young and able to do almost anything you want. As you get older, you realize life is a fragile thing. It’s hard not to think of death sometimes. I know it will come for me. For him. For people I love. It already has taken my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, my brother, and friends. You never pay your dues until it’s your turn. Then it is the ones left behind that face it.

But why do I think so much about it? Why is there so much fear? This life is still here. I’m alive. The day is come again.

I have no idea what today will bring. I’m just thankful I am here to love those around me and shine like a light in someone’s dark day. I keep believing and hoping when hard things come, all the love we had will be enough to conquer the darkness of death. But I take one day at a time and am grateful for the people in my life.

He says to be thankful for the moment… To not look too far into the future.

I say I’m thankful for him–yesterday, today, and for however long we are.