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“You rule over the raging sea; when it’s waves rise up you still them.” Psalm 89:9

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Alarming Inspiration

We all need reminders. You usually don’t sit and watch the seconds go by when you bake a turkey. You set an alarm. Life demands our time and we like to fill it up. We get the green beans boiling and potatoes cut while getting lost in a TV show. But then we need that reminder. The alarm sounds. The Turkey needs tending. It is finished.

A huge and unforgettable alarm went off in my city a week ago. Since this alarm went off, people have come in masses to turn it off. Blood banks and charity centers got so many donations they actually had to turn people away. Las Vegas responded to crisis with an outpouring of love and generosity. There are so many stories of good triumphing in the mist of and in response to such a horrific event. My heart aches for anyone in the line of destruction, man or nature inflicted.

But we can’t stop. We can’t sit and count the seconds until the next alarm. As we continue to pick up the pieces, nurse our wounds, and start the healing process there is a ticking in the air. When will the next alarm sound?

      Do not fear: I am with you;

do not be anxious: I am your God.

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10


Why does bad happen to the good and the innocent? We all are trying to figure it out. We all have our own “correct opinions”. It seems making sense of evil is a losing battle. I’d rather fight the good fight. We owe it to the people who lost their lives so unexpectedly. How can we live in a better and safer world? We owe it to our future. We owe it to our present. We don’t know when our time will come but we do have now.

When our bodies are under attack from a virus it doesn’t just affect one organ. Everything is connected. Our throats might swell but our entire body aches.

We all carry our own cross but we are all connected. If we don’t help ourselves, we can’t help our neighbor. If we can’t help our neighbor then our community will ache. If our community aches we can’t help ourselves. Because without support from our community we live alone. And that’s not how we were designed to live.

We you can give, give all you can. When you are in need, ask and receive. 

Proverbs 3:27, Matthew 7:7

If we set our own alarms we might be able to avoid someone else’s wake up call but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help them rise. It could’ve been ours.

For the past month, about two times a week, I get a visit from a student at my school at the end of the day. The first day he walked into my room I did not expect what came out of his mouth.

“Do you need help?” He asked.

I stared at him incredulously. He read my face and elaborated.

“I am going around asking teachers if they need help with anything. I just finished helping my English teacher alphabetize. If there’s something you need done, I’d love to help.”

“Why?” Was the only word I could find. I couldn’t believe a student who I don’t have, who I never met or even saw before would be so giving of his time.

“Because teachers need help.”

I was three blocks away, three hours before the shooting. I watched people singing and dancing to music I love. I wanted to be there with them enjoying the nice evening. I watched for a little, tapping my foot and nodding my head. Then I left and safely made it home. 

This week I took every class at my gym I could make it to. I stretched my healed body through long yoga poses. I danced and swung my attached and unbruised limbs around a Zumba class. I lifted weights and put miles on the treadmill. 

I am alive. My body has known dispair but today I can dance…and I praise God for the opportunities both then and now.

“I’m sorry you can’t eat this.” Was a remark I used to let hang in the air around me as I ate my bland, no seasoned, mushy, baby-like foods. That was all I could stomach. I watched people eat juicy and savory meals be consumed around me in shame or guilt sometimes because it was so much better than what I could eat. 

If you CAN eat it; it’s good for you, and you enjoy it, then eat it without guilt. And give thanks.

If you CAN dance, it’s good for you; enjoy it without shame. And give thanks.

Share your story. Listen to other people’s. Be a light. Be kind. 

I’m inspired by the selfless generosity a student and my community can give. I’m inspired by instructors who encourage people to “move your body because you can”. I’m continuing to wake up to new alarms. Some I set. Some are from others. But every one is an opportunity to tend to a need. His table is a banquet set for us all to enjoy. It is finished. 
John 19:30, 2 Corinthians 4:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Contentment in a Cone

I remember the first time as a kid I ate ice cream in a cone on my own.  Before, Daddy was always willing and ready to help slurp up the messy licks. But I was a big girl now. The best was when I got to the first crunchy bite with the cone. The refreshing cold sweetness of the smooth chocolate scoop now had and extra texture. Crunch and cream were definitely meant to be together. 

But then I looked at my brother munching away with a bigger cone for the older kids. His was a waffle cone. Mine was a small sugar cone. His had the solid chololate at the bottom of the cone, like an extra surprise in a cereal box (can you tell I’m a 90’s kid?) so it wouldn’t melt through. Genius. Mine didn’t. I wanted one like his too, now. Even his mint ice cream seemed like a better choice than my plain chocolate. I looked down at mine now slowly making chololate paths on my forearms. Daddy to the rescue…

I didn’t get to finish my own ice cream and cone on my own as a big girl because I was too busy looking at and wishing what I could’ve had. 

Adult me would tell my big girl me that mine was just as good. That I am and always will be a plain eater. So I like chocolate more than mint chocolate chip. But maybe pick the waffle cone next time.

We look at what other people have so we can see what we want. Some times it’s for us and sometimes it’s not. But when we spend too much time looking we miss out on enjoying what’s in front of us. I’ve been my big girl me in my adult body lately. I want to do it all now that I can. I want to say yes to everything and experience everything I felt robbed of while I was in the Great Flare of 2016 and most of 2017. I get jealous of people who seemed to make life milestones happen while I still feel stuck and in my own way. 

As I get closer to remission I am slowly no longer seeing myself as sick. I reached a healthy weight. I’m less anxious about everything I put in my mouth. I’m taking more time for me every day and I don’t feel guilty about it. My hair isn’t falling out as quickly. Just this last weekend I physically felt capable of making a trip to Denver for a worthwhile 24 hours to be with some dear friends. I can go to work and not worry about making it to the restroom. I am making my own milestones. I simply need to remember what matters and “see the light in the tunnel, not just at the end” as my friend Kristinna would say.

We search for more until we have less.

Once you don’t even have your own sweet ice cream cone to finish yourself you realize you shouldn’t have ever been jealous of an other cone. Yours was more than enough to be grateful for.

Enjoying every lick of life.

Matthew 16:25

Letting Go while Holding Strong

Today was recycling day at school. As my students quietly tested I not so quietly lugged five bins of papers and poster projects to the door for them to pick up. I watched old and familiar handwriting from kids I’d gotten to know so well and all the hard work they’d shown me fall in clumps into the big bin. And for a split second I thought, “It’s time to begin again.”

I’m well aware we are a good three weeks in to this school year. I know very well that I have 200 new faces who call me their teacher. I just haven’t been able to call them my students yet. Until today.

To some, I’m a hoarder. To others, a keepsake displayer. However you look at it, I hold on to things. I like to be reminded of all the good I’ve got going on, because I know some times it can get bad. Last year when I was struggling to get to school, my students always helped make it worth my while. They’ll never know just how much I needed that.

So after I watched their work vanish in the big black bin, I turned to look at my new students and the empty walls around them that will soon be decorated with their own work. “Out with the old, in with the new” only applies to the work I throw out, not to the memories. I can keep every single one of those forever.

Sometimes when I use the restroom at school I still get flashbacks to when the urgency, bloating, cramps, blood, and fatigue ruled my life. But when I’m in my classroom I am safe. I try to make that space safe for anyone inside it, too. 

Being in transition from a flare that lasted for 17 months towards remission this coming December has prolonged certain things while inspired others. Since I technically can’t say I’m in remission until I have gone six months with no symptoms, I still find myself holding my breath every morning as I make my way to the restroom. 

“Will it be an other good day?”

I still have a stock pile of Depends, I still question everything I put in my mouth, I still am anal (pun intended) about the exact time I take my meds every day, and I still make sure the type of clothing I wear around my waist isnt too tight. I have been holding on to the fear of it returning. I’m working on letting this go, too, though simultaneously cutting myself some slack that it’s okay to not toss something out until I’m ready.

have been able to let other things go though to make room for new. It’s like when it rains. It could be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s always good for our Vegas desert but bad if you get stuck in flooded waters. But either way we all have to wash our cars afterwards. Washing away any good or bad stains.

My time for me is vital and I have made it a priority. I stop when I’m tired. I eat when I’m hungry. I drink when I’m thirsty and gosh golly I use the restroom just as much as before except it’s normal now.

It’s not selfish to put yourself first. My past taught me this. My present is putting this into action so I don’t have a repeat in the future.

We all should be putting ourselves first. We shouldn’t need a reason to either. No one’s past history is any more deserving of self care than another’s. We can make room for new things. We can move on. We can give even more when we’ve had time for ourselves. 

I’m ready to give my time to my new students. The best of me. Not just what’s left of me.

The past doesn’t have to be forgotten. The present shouldn’t have to compete for attention. 

Let the past pass and the present unfold so a healthy future can be told.

Ecclesiastes 3:6

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

There’s a mountain in Vegas called Lone Mountain. From far away it has a more hill-like appearance in contrast to the massive bright red mountains attached to Red Rock National Park. But this little mountain definitely still meets mountain-qualifications. 

Mike and I joked once that in comparison to our Red Rock hikes, this hike still leaves us breathless, in every way. But it doesn’t look that tall, that steep or that strenuous.

There are 3 tiers. To get to the first tier with the bench you have to break in your hiking shoes right away. The lose gravel and steep slope send any preconceived thoughts of it looking like a little hill to the wayside. The second tier is an other steady uphill climb and you actually are climbing high enough now that you think you’re about to reach the top. You give it all you’ve got because you think “well it’s all down hill after this.” No so. The peak of this tier slowly gives way to the small path that leads to the next and final tier. The last leg isn’t as long, as steep, nor the gravel as loose so even though you’ve given it all you’ve got already, you think “Oh, I’ve come all this way, that’ll be nothing.”

Yesterday I stopped at the second tier. 

I wasn’t too tired. I had enough water. I wasn’t too sun-stung. Nothing hurt. I just decided to turn around. 

An other blog for an other day might read a little differently. I might shed light on how we are more capable and stronger than we realize and can push through just about anything if we put our minds to it. It’s true. And I definitely could’ve made it the whole way. I’ve done this hike many times. I know the tiers and the energy needed but something had me turn around and I think I figured out what.

On September 5th, 2016, I hiked this exact hike. Just like today, it was the Saturday after the first full week back at school. This was my post.

I felt strong and proud. I made it to the top after a summer full of hard nights and trying days. Again, not knowing if I would be able to go back to work but there I was hiking to the top. All three tiers. Me and God. I was proud of myself then for going that far but I’m just as proud if not prouder today of my journey, even if I turn back at tier two, God’s still right there.

We hold expectations on ourselves and so do others. But mostly us. There is a time to finish what we start and a time to remain unfinished. And really, we can never truly be finished until…well, we’re finished. My Grandma would say, “You’re not done turning out until you’re done.” While I wanted that same feeling of accomplishment I’d gotten last year, this year felt different. I felt this hike turning into a lesson, a different milestone than last year. I knew I could finish but I recognized the feeling that it’s okay not to do what you thought you were going to do. Because when you realize where you’d rather be spending time, there’s no time to waste. It’s time to turn around. (Side note: I usually would almost always rather be hiking!)

I needed this hike to know it’s okay to just stop. To do what I want. I started the hike. I enjoyed the hike. But then I wanted to be back in Ronaldo cruisin’ to my 90’s mix CD in the ice cold AC; conserving my energy for other things to fill my first Saturday of the school year.

So I turned around.

Sometimes one thing will have to remain unfinished so others can be finished.
“There was so much work left to do…”

“But so much you’ve already done…”

I think what really inspired me to write was the conversation with fellow hikers I had along the way. I mean, I totally get it. If I was going to turn around I should’ve done it at the first tier, not the second. It’s like I just waved to the finish line but veered off to get a head start on the complimentary refreshments.

“Did you make it to the top and back that quickly?” He was with an other gentleman and they each had their hands wrapped around a leash that was attached to a dog. One was a Saint Bernard mix and the other some sort of cattle dog. I had greeted the dogs on my way up as they were coming down not too long ago. I recognized the dogs better than their humans.

“Oh. No. I just turned around.” I said already trying to justify why in my head. Why DID I? “I don’t think I’m wearing the right shoes.” I blurted. Semi true.

“Oh I did it in Chuck’s!” He bragged. “You should be fine.” His hiker friend agreed.

I looked at the dogs panting loudly and scrounging for the little shade that existed under a small ridge. (It was approaching 100 degrees out.) I looked at the hikers. 

“Its been a while since I’ve hiked this trail. I’m just proud I made it out here.” As I said the word proud I gave myself a little triumphant-hoorah-fist-pump towards the sky.

They both smiled. “Maybe next time.” I agreed. And as their dogs kept panting with no choice but to go where their masters went and no say in when, I continued my slow and cautious climb down. (My body has become so much more precious to me as I’ve gotten older. Maybe it comes with age or experience but there’s too many out of control things that could happen naturally, I don’t want to add a fall to my current recovery stage.)

I passed a resting couple as well and since I wasn’t sure if they noticed my apparently bizarre decision about not going to the top I decided to be the first to direct the conversation. “There’s just no clear path is there?” I said dodging where I would’ve liked to step inorder to avoid the loose gravel while not wanting to intrude too much in their fresh air space.

“Nope! You just have to blaze your own trail on this hike.”

I liked that response. High five to that hiker guy. 

It wasn’t that the Chuck’s guy was rude or insensitive. He was actually very friendly and just making light conversation. Possibly thinking he was being encouraging. We need that some times. But when we encounter something we don’t want, even encouragement, it’s up to us to receive it well enough and show people how we actually need to be encouraged. I didn’t have to go into my life saga of how my cronic illness had taken over my life these past couple years and if he’d known maybe he’d be amazed I was just able to make the 30 minute drive out here instead of focusing on me not going to the top. 

It’s how we internalize what others say that will either placate our preexisting anxieties or nullify them. 

I took the conversation into my own hands. I didn’t let them feed the already festering guilt I carry for not finishing something or the jealousy of not being able to do what others around me are doing. This time I chose this path, it didn’t choose me. I turned around. And climbed down with a smile.

I decided I had enough. So I turned around. 

Same with being tired of feeling and seeing my hair fall out. Tomorrow I’m going to get a new haircut. I’m deciding this. Not the fact that I have no idea why it is; when or if it will stop, but I need it to stop. I need a change in scenary. I can’t keep looking at clogged drains and full combs. I want to fill up my day with joy, not bins of brittle hair-reminding what I’ve gone through and still recovering from. It could be from all the meds, old and new working in my body simultaneously. The ones allowing me to keep up with the life I want to live right now. Or it could be the scary low potassium levels I had months ago (hair sometimes reacts delayed from such experiences apparently). I can’t even begin to know what my friend went through with chemo but it sure is hard to see locks of full, healthy, flowing hair on other’s heads while I’m self consciously tying the hair tie looping it double what I usually do, being ever so gentle to try to lessen the loss.

It sounds petty but I’ve always loved my long brown hair. Others have told me they loved it too. I like wearing it straight, down, up, curled, braided (I just learned a fishtail). But I’ve always wanted to know if I would like shorter hair too. Never had much of a desire to actually go through with it though. Its always been just a trim. But while I’ve got some left on my head, I might as well see for myself. It’s in the hairdresser’s hands come tomorrow.

Taking the steps. Turning around. Changing the view. Starting anew. Leaving some time and some room for growth. 

I’m not done turning out til I’m done.

Luke 12:7, John 19:28-30

Key Change or Refrain

“Sing the theme song to Friends” he said with an eager ear. 

Mike and I were in the middle of an episode, soaking up the last few days of our teacher summer. I knew I was walking into a trap by the look on his face but I sang it anyway. When I got to the “I’ll be there for you” verse his animated face glowed with satisfaction. 

“That’s not the melody.” He declared. 

I love Friends. I may not be the best at singing but I know the theme song to one of my favorite shows. Don’t I? “Hey! Don’t make fun, I sang it the best I could.” I said with pride yet still quizzical. 

“Not that. I meant that’s not the melody I hear.” He proceeded to sing his version. “I’ll be there for you.” Mike is an amazing singer and can always turn a song inside out to make it his own. I usually like his song covers better than the original but you just can’t mess with a classic like Friends. 

“No no. It goes ‘I’ll be there for you’…” I sang with confidence.

“Listen again.” He reset the episode ( ah Netflix) and we listened from the beginning. I was so sure of what I was about to hear. I’ve heard it hundreds of times. But there it was. I couldn’t believe it. “I’ll be there for you” buzzed through just as clearly now for me as “I’ll be there for you” and suddenly I was questioning everything. It was the same feeling when you see those ambiguous images. You start off seeing the two faces looking at each other but are told there’s a vase and then you can’t unsee either one. (Or vice versa.)

“Play it again!” We listened to it half a dozen more times testing ourselves to hear it both ways and finally just decided to appreciate the duet since we couldn’t agree which was the harmony and which was the melody. ( I still think it’s “I’ll be there for you.”)

Right now I think my life’s theme song would be “I’m still a work in progress, trying to figure it out one step at a time.” There are many parts to my song I wish to discover.

________________

When I was really sick I had decided to explore an Option B which was teaching online. It seemed like it’d be less physical stress on the body and when you can’t get out of bed, teaching in pajamas seems like a life changer. I thought it was what I had to or should do. It just seemed rational given my history. Plus, the thought of having my coworkers cover for me again if my symptoms return is unsettling and unfair. I thought I owed it to everyone to at least look at some alternatives. 

One inquiry lead to another and I was honored to be offered an online teaching job at a virtual high school. I was faced with one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in a while. To leave a school where I am completely supported; teaching students and subjects I love or accepting a new opportunity that could really allow me to focus on this path I’m on to full recovery. A wonderful delema. Blessed to have options. Yet I completely broke down emotionally. I felt compelled towards and confident in both decisions for the couple days I had to mull it over. It wasn’t healthy. I just didn’t know the right step to take and I got worked up over it. I looked for signs and found one for each side. Why can’t my life operate like Jim Carrey’s did in Bruce Almighty having Morgan Freeman pop his head in (I’d even just take a call from him to hear his voice) spilling out the exact words of wisdom I need at any moment?

I felt like I was swinging for a piñata blindfolded. But even that has more acuity because after you’ve been spun around you typically get directed towards the object of interest before swinging away aimlessly. For your safety and others. I needed that direction now too. Fear of defeat leeched onto the energy it took to recover from a miss and dragging anyone else down with me.

After discussions, deliberation, and discernment I decided to decline the virtual school and remain at my current school.

I’m staying!

I bounced around like a kid on Christmas feeling like I just got my dream job all over again. I get to do what I WANT. I thought this opportunity fell in my lap and at this time for a reason and was a sign but I just am not ready to go, and maybe that was what it was supposed to show me. Who really knows. All I know is I get to back to work with people I love, in a classroom I’ve made mine and subjects I enjoy. I get to do this because I got better and am continuing to heal. I feel so blessed. I knew I had it good but being on the verge of losing this part of my life made me really resent my disease for possibly taking it away from me. Robbing me of singing my song the way I wanted. But even if I chose to or had to leave, no experience can rob you unless you let it. I know I would’ve found a new melody because even though I’m staying in the same place I am seeing it brand new. I can hear the harmony.

__________________

Today I held the keys to MY classroom and I am full of Hope and Happiness. I was greeted by the familiar smell of the school that had been deep cleaned over the summer and some smiling faces from coworkers (a few that saved my butt at the end of last year when I had to take so much time off) who were trying to get a head start on getting their classrooms ready, too. The jingle and jangle my keys made was music to my ears. The way it smoothly glided into the doorknob that unlocked a room deprived of and ready for attention makes me feel a little overwhelmed but still overjoyed this is something I am up for doing. This key chain didn’t change but other things have. While I couldn’t say goodbye to now former students before I welcome and meet my new ones, I am holding the keys again. They are mine. This song is mine. I have the ability to make the changes I want to make.

 __________________

On the days I was pretty much bedridden and using any energy I had to make it to the restroom I would scroll through social media to pass some time. DON’T EVER DO THIS. (Or if you do, limit it to 2 minutes tops and only look at your real friends’ feed. You know, the ones who you actually talk to outside of a screen.) I lived vicariously through vacations I saw other people going on or throwing celebrations. Living their lives so freely with no hesitation to eat foods that would probably kill me. I wanted that. I got really depressed. I know no one’s life is as glamorous as it looks, but even the glimpse into other lives made me feel I was going no where and not physically able to do anything about it.

So I made some goals. You can’t just start wacking away at the big piñatas before you know how to swing a bat. I slowly learned to swing again. I found other parts of my song. I wanted to somehow make it to the beach. A beach day means you are physically able to walk on a surface that makes you use different muscles. A beach day means you get to spend time away from routines and business. A beach day means freedom.

A week ago it happened. After months of hoping for it I got myself to the beach! I was able to make the 6 hour drive each way just to spend a total of 24 hours in San Diego but… I did it. I stayed at my friend’s house which was an other reason to go in itself. I got to stick my feet in the sand. The crusty surface giving way to the soft, warm, and welcoming ground.  My eyes strained to make sense of the endless waves and horizon in front of me but my mind and body relaxed absorbing the fresh air and atmosphere. I got my long walk on the beach with a dear friend. I got my mini vacation. I did it! I made this goal happen. 

Now I need an other goal. Continue healing in every way and achieve remission. After a couple people suggested it and planted the seed, it was my friend Heather, who encouraged me to finally water it. I know exactly where I was when I decided to pursue seeing a counselor. My first appointment is tomorrow. 

I want to find the best and be the best version of myself I can be and my journey to health doesn’t end even if the physical symptoms do. I can’t let my emotions negatively influence me either. I can’t live in fear every day of going backwards or having a relapse. Of swinging that bat at nothing or hitting something I don’t want. I physically can’t afford to stress out over anything- especially a good delema. I want all my melodies to be heard clearly and confidently. 

Asking for help in any way does not make you weak. Having the courage to ask already makes you stronger.

Facing yourself can be frightening. But I don’t want to swing blindfolded hitting the wall thinking it’s the piñata when I can ask for someone to help redirect those powerful blows. It might just bear fruit (or candy). We’ll see.

_____________

There are many parts to our song and some come in clearer while others discretely exist until we chose to listen or search for them. They can give our cadence company or linger for a solo. Each bring out a new perspective with so many parts to explore and create. We use a little guidance and direction sometimes to hit our marks and be showered by the sweetness in life. There’s no right or wrong version. With a key change or two we can unlock the doors or bridges that swing our way into a new phase or take us to the refrain. Just keep singing and swinging.

We have the greatest Guide and Composer who works around the clock filling us with beautiful melodies that are meant to be repeated, accompanied, or changed. He leaves the keys (or bat) in our hands while we’re held by His.

Psalm 59:16-17

Good Ol’ Days

Everyone has a “good ol’ days” story or moment. Those memories that we can’t help but smile while we reflect over and the times we wish we could relive and rediscover all over again. The oldie but goodie song that can take you back to a simpler time or rapturous state. (The Backstreet Boys don’t play with my heart when it comes to feel-good nostalgia.) We seem to recall these precious moments or time period for either of two reasons. 

One reason might be that our current moment seems grim or uncomfortable. We use these memories as a beacon of hope to aspire to attain again soon, or maybe just in the least to allow our minds an escape from the present long enough to combat any foreboding thoughts. It’s been better. It will get better. And you already feel better.

The other plausible reason we recall the good times could be because we are living one right now. And since we recognize the euphoric feeling of what this imperfect but beautiful world has to offer, we know where it belongs- in our Good Times memory bank; stored away for a rainy day or to reminisce with our next life high. 

We need Depth to recognize Height.  Sorrow to know Joy. And Pain to see Healing. 

I had a moment the other day. I had the best to-do list ever. It was a list of “regular” household tasks and grocery shopping to complete so that I could see friends and movies and shows and eat good food (I still have a huge appetite) and live! Not that I wasn’t living before, but now my body isn’t getting in my way like I felt it had. I can make plans with people and not have to cancel.  I can do my own grocery shopping after going to the gym (which I mostly just walk on the treadmill, but still) and also have energy left for meal prepping. All of these activities on their own, not so long ago, would have required major mental preparation and self-motivational speeches but still would deplete my energy and need multiple naps and more motivational speeches in order to recover. I can’t believe they have moved from the “Most I’m able to do” list to my “To-do” list. 

Those times of struggling in that way weren’t necessarily moments I look fondly back on and I definitely never want to return to or relive them. It still hits close to home and the fear of them resurfacing is real and daunting. Yet, every day I wake up and have an other good day it becomes effortless to find Gratitude and Grace and more moments for Good Times. They swarm around and embrace me with such clarity. I know these are moments I will look fondly back on because I look fondly at them now.

I have made more time for my passions which have enriched and helped restore my being. Participating in concert band again, taking a painting class and trying new DIY projects are just a few ways I’ve been exploring what makes me who I am. I enjoy my own presence and seeing myself revisit old hobbies with new life experiences while picking up new ones along the way. When I’m doing what I love it’s like the rest of the world fades away and a whole new world opens. A world that always existed; waiting latent, more than ready to be unearthed. 

We all have so many buried treasures but if we don’t dig into at least a few of them we miss out on the ways our lives can be enriched.

I am learning you can never stop searching, never stop trying to be the best version of yourself. How cliche. But if we truly lived by some of these cheesy expressions, maybe life really is what we make it, and we have the power to make it amazing. By putting the things we love the most first into our jar before adding the superfluous. Because you can’t take it with you when you go but you can leave a legacy. Keeping in mind that our gifts are our own to give the way we want to give them. And knowing that self care is not selfish. The best day to begin is today.

I hope I never get too swept up in the race to get to those good moments that I forget to appreciate and be grateful for the process and ability to get to them. To not ignore my own needs spiritually, emotionally, mentally, or physically. To continue to uproot my passions and plant them deeper in my core where they can better blossom. I hope I can greet the hardships respectfully so I can fully enjoy the good in Good Times. 

Some good days are easier to recognize than others. Any day we use to make ourselves better, enrich our lives, or of course find joy is a good day.

The good ol’ days are today. 

Psalm 118:24

Live on, hats off

We have the opportunity to wear many hats throughout our lives. When we put those hats on we become an other version of ourselves. Still completely us, but in various forms. 

I have a Teacher and Student hat. A Sister, Daughter, Girlfriend, and Friend hat. An Artist, Hiker, Musician, Teammate and Traveler hat. I’m still exploring and still collecting. All these hats and more have logos and different colors, shapes, and sizes. All beautiful. They each bring out something unique while allowing me to love and be loved; to explore and to create. 

I also have an Ulcerative Colitis Patient hat. 

My UCP hat ( or sombrero at times) hasn’t always felt like it’s been a great accessory to what I’d prefer to wear. Actually, I’ve never felt it’s gone with any outfit. From my elementary school overalls to my professional educator attire, it just does not go. (IT doesn’t go but it makes ME go!) It’s never a good time to put on the hat that makes you lose control of normal body functions. That restricts you from doing what you want. With this hat on the others will have to wait for their next wear. It hasn’t been fair. While my other hats offer sun protection, wardrobe inhancement and confidence boosting qualities, this eye sore, over-sized, and headache inducing hat can leave me feeling suffocated and lost. The size can make it hard to see where I’m going and the weight can leave me stationary. When I’ve worn it I’ve felt like I can’t go anywhere or even see what’s going on around me.

Lately, I’ve been able to hang this hat up. It took a team and my own will power to lift it off. Once a hat is worn though it becomes a part of you and once you’ve seen yourself in a certain hat you can’t unsee it. It scares me to think I could wear it again  at anytime but then again no one really knows what hats we will have to cap ourselves with. I see parts of this hat even in my other hats. I think about it even when I’m wearing others. But this hat is not a burden to own. I now see my other ones more beautifully and more fully enjoy when I get to wear them. I have a better understanding of what relief and gratitude feel like. It hasn’t always brought out the best side of me, but no one hat can really do that anyway.

Maybe all of our hats put together are who we are as a person. Or maybe our true selves are what’s left without any of our hats. Either way, we are loved by someOne who loves us no matter what. Plus, He goes with everything even when we’ve got nothing on. 

Romans 8:38-39