Chasm of Grace

I discovered yesterday that a poem of my mine hit the New York Times Best Sellers List 25 years ago…hours after I feared releasing this blog for fear of losing love due to an interrupt to succeed. Yup that is my reality. You don’t win you lose.

When incarcerated, isolation is often used as one of the worst possible forms of punishment a criminal can receive.  Torture techniques include placing people in holes of darkness completely alone, depleted of any interaction with another person for extended periods of time to break the spirit of humanity.

Being alone can be more dreadful more than death.

When I became a full-time author two years ago I was on the precipice my greatest dream coming true.  When I was six years old I began writing anything and everything coming to my heart a rapid pace I would grab my pencil to put into expression my conflicted painstaking experiences.  Through the darkness of my tormented and lonely childhood, God gave me a precious gift, and a means to navigate unthinkable situations.

 

Needless to say having the ability to publish two books in fourteen months is something that I am very proud of.  My memoir ‘The Return to Happiness’ hit bestseller lists on Amazon, ibooks and Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.  MORE importantly miraculously,  my words have helped thousands and thousands of women all over the world giving a voice to the devastating grief of pregnancy and infant loss.  God once again used my torrent of torture to flow vastly into the form of words, yet this time healing others, not just myself.  What a magnificent God we serve.

But it wasn’t all celebration cakes and congratulations on Facebook, I faced the darkest time in my adult life while birthing my dream.

The first six months of pursuing my most coveted aspiration came with a lofty price that has the ability to haunt me until I meet Jesus.  I (unknowingly at the time) sentenced myself the most horrid punishment of maltreatment…isolation.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am the infante definition of an extrovert and a complete and total spaz. I thrive off of people, I love (most) everything about God’s people. The joy or sorrow in their eyes is my goal to discover the reason of either.  Two is always greater than one in times of celebration or despair.

As you can see isolation isn’t beneficially for anyone, especially for a person like myself.  Alone, sheltered, and wrapped up in my own fictional and nonfictional world I fell into the darkest depression and dependence on alcohol and prescription medication that I ever had faced.  Anxiety and depression have always taunted me as I have dealt with abandonment, abuse of the worst kind, a son diagnosed with a chronic illness at four and two back to back second-trimester pregnancy losses.  In prefacing that I have dealt with some mental health issues goes without strong merit.

I’ll never forget my first glass of wine.  A magnificent feeling overtook my mind and body, but mostly the pivotal escape from inner darkness and the child that always felt left behind is what continued to call my name to the lies of the bottle.  The girl who saw too much, the forsaken and tormented version of my inner child was sedated and finally left numbed.  It was the most intensely wonderful thing that I had ever injected into my body.  And I didn’t care if it was wrong.  I simply loved that I could not feel.

Labels kill the over achiever as floods wipe out the innocent.  I never wanted to admit my poison because I wanted so desperately to be loved.

I never became a raging alcoholic in those years of young adulthood.  Thankfully I never received a DUI, or put my kids or myself in danger, or lost a job.  People drink and it is widely acceptable even marketed as a way to overcome a really bad day.  I was successful in many of my areas that in enabled me to somewhat cover up my guilt with my many outlandish accomplishments (yup I’m that humble)  LOL.  A definite result of my distorted childhood was the need to please and to receive love, therefore, I was 110% or nothing.  If I was triumphant than I was loveable.

In that, it is pertinent I add a few of the prodigious things I did in my life before I drop the biggest bombshell to you all that I’ve managed to keep hidden for two years:

  • I wrote an award-winning poem at 16 and was published and hit New York Times Best Selling List in her collection of poetry, thus becoming a New York Time Bestselling author without even knowing it at fifteen.
  • I am the National Prepared Public Speaking winner for the state of Nevada and competed at a national convention in St. Louis, MO.  I can still recall the energy in my body as the electricity jolted me on the stage to shout to the world my words and voice.
  • I was a gifted runner with Olympic potential until I had a career ending injury at 16.
  • I was selected for a national band and played for 30,000 people including President George Bush
  • I learned how to figure skate at the age of thirty advancing so quickly I skated in an ice show 9 months later being the first adult to land a jump higher than a waltz.  Then I went on to perform in seven other ice shows in front of thousands of people.
  • I am a bestselling author of a memoir that will eventually be in the United Hospital System going home with grieving mothers who suffers miscarriage or stillbirth.
  •  I am the proud mother of six babies.  (Two in heaven) whose accomplishments mean more to me than an Olympic gold medal, and a husband who is my heart light.
  • I have a divorce that is healthy.  My ex-husband, his beautiful wife, her kids, and ours are blended.  We have Christmas, birthdays, and Easter, together.  We shield one another in the dark times and celebrate the joys in life.  They are my husband and my two children together godparents.  If anything happens to Alan and I, all my babies will be together in the best care I could ever imagine.

All of those things I didn’t accomplish on my own. I once had a deeply rooted relationship with Jesus and loved my Lord more than myself.  When I left Him I still continued to soar, yet slowly crumbled deeper than the sky could lift me up.On the cliff of greatness in 2014 looking off into the sunset of finally becoming a published author I knew this would top anything else I had done in my life.  Yet I was only touching the surface of my journey back to God, deeply I was falling vastly into depression and drinking.  I was alone.  Because I chose isolation.  From church  from God, from friends. I was too busy building my business, writing my books, and well for lack of better words trying to drown my sorrows.

 

I ended up drinking myself into a horrible mess, dipping deeper and darker into depression.  I called a suicide help line one night.  I felt so lost, my dad had left…again….my past was ruining me, haunting me, nightmares made my turmoil happen over and over every night so I’d stay up all night working and numbing myself into a place where my sleep wouldn’t hit the stage of dreams.  The police came to my house at three am to make sure I wasn’t going to hurt myself, waking my husband up to attest to the fact that I wouldn’t kill myself was one of my darkest moments.  The fear in his eyes was enough.  Enough to find the inner will to fight the greatest storm of my life.

A week after I called the suicide hotline I hit it.  The cement wall holding the ability to crack my skull open and leave misery-drenched in the form of red, fluid that holds the breath of death, with no hope of reconciliation.

I decided to quit drinking cold turkey soon after a dreaded night to my realization that I wouldn’t have reacted that way if I had been sober.  I mean really, me in a screaming match?  Nope,  not reality, not truth, not the grace God has instilled in me.

The whole next day, horribly hung over, I laid in my bed alone, I covered the windows with the darkest of blankets and cried.  I shook with withdrawal symptoms and when my older boys got home from school I instructed them to come up as I had to tell them something.

They entered my room sorrowful from the sheer greeting of a black room and a clearly sick mom.  They had no idea my drinking had gotten out of control as I was  the master of deception.  Remember, if I fail I’m not loved.  It’s what my parents taught me.  What else would I know?

I told my boys that I had an altercation with our neighbors and some changes were on the horizon.  My oldest son Caleb said, “Mom you need to get involved in church.  You need community, I’m worried about you because I know you and this isn’t you.”  Caleb looked around the dark sullen room and my listless body still in bed at 4 pm with compassion and concern.

My oldest son Caleb said, “Mom you need to get involved in church.  You need community, I’m worried about you because I know you and this isn’t you.”  He peered upon the dark sullen room and my listless body still in bed at 4 pm with compassion and concern.

Yet the only thing that was was in me was anger.

Church?

God!?

A God who only took from me, who wrecked me taking my two infant boys, Caleb’s health, my innocence, my father?   The love I yearned for but never received from my mother.  NO WAY would I ever serve Him again.  I was so faithful in my youth and He still gave me nothing but adult years of suffering.

My children left heartbroken seeing their mother who was usually strong lying on a bed that had the stench of death.  The woman who they watched make dreams turn into reality was truly giving up.  I can’t even imagine the pain I placed on their young hearts.

Twenty-four hours after my last drink I went into delirium tremens (DT’s) which is a possible, fatal condition caused by severe alcohol withdrawal.  I write in more detail in my upcoming book about how this felt, but I can paraphrase and say it was like a nightmarish light show that was evil instead of in celebration. Streamers fell from the sky in a brilliance of color, but it didn’t feel like the fourth of July it felt like the end of life. I reached up to grab what seemed real only to see it dissipate in the confines of my pale  hands.  Rock bottom never looked so colorful and felt so regretful.

The next morning being the hypochondriac I am, I googled ‘hallucinations after ceasing alcohol’.  Of course,  every site said get yourself to an emergency room because you could die

Deep inside me,  I knew I didn’t actually want to go to be with the Jesus yet, so I had my husband Alan take me to the local ER.  Staff became serious extremely fast as I was admitted,  and I was placed on a “seizure” watch in fear that I could seize and die.

My initial fleeting moment of wanting to die weeks earlier could become a reality and in the grips of such deafening possibility of truth I held on like I had never fought in my life before.

I saw Alan.

Caleb.

Cameron.

Trasen.

Lilia.

Mostly I saw me.

My potential.  What I meant to people.

My smile.

My love, soul, gifts, and deep torment that can be used to gift those going through the same.

I fought so hard I felt like my hero Rocky Balboa after his fight with the Russian.  Beaten, yet ultimately blanketed with a title belt around my waist.

The doctors at that point recommended rehab for dual diagnosis depression and alcoholism, with  my pride fighting to hold me back…I went.

Being in a facility akin to the darkest of places a person can go was a creation within my being I wasn’t accustomed to.  Giving in to failure, not clinging to my success. I heard stories much more tortuous than mine.  I saw heroin addicts, suicide attempts, schizophrenics, deeply depressed people and severe eating disorders.

And in that my chains were broken, for we are all at the throne.  We all struggle no matter our life path.

All of the unlovely sat at the table we ate our meals at and we loved one another, while Jesus sat at the head of the table I actually felt Him and knew through His stripes we were healed.

Eight painfully beneficial days later I left and something on the last day during one of our group meetings we were told that seventy percent of us will relapse.  \

Seventy percent of you will fail.

In essence, that means thirty percent win this battle.  And I’m really good at winning, my prideful self-self-declared.

 

But instead of victory, this time,I became a statistic. One month later I was back.

I had become the seventy percent.

In the months that followed my second visit to Rogers Memorial Hospital, I rewrote both of my books that were crafted in a non-authentic clear-minded way.  I completely stopped drinking and went on this amazing adventure that a year later brought me back to my best friend, Jesus.

 

My son was insightful in giving me powerful words from the throne of God that we thrive when we have people rallying around us not trying to cope on our own. Two are always better than one.

 

We need each other to thrive, grow, prosper, and be kept accountable.

 

In this increasingly hard time in my life with my Caleb going to college and feeling like a quarter of my heart is in Minneapolis for the first time in a while I’ve been struggling.

 

God has called me to greatness, He has predestined me to write my story of addiction and childhood/adult abandonment and how I overcame impossible odds to find my destiny  Yet, first I have to arrive.

Again I stand at the brinks of a multitude of choices to deal with transition and the pulling question of which direction will I take?  Will I allow evil to spit the ugliness of sin on my face  or will I shower myself with the grace of a Savior filed with ultimate possibility?

In my young life abandonment meant if I wasn’t the picture of perfection I wasn’t loved.  In my mid-life my parents exude the same standard.  For I’ve been shown that if I mess up, or am less than righteous, love simply leaves.  It is gone, sometimes forever. That is why sharing this with you all is so hard for me.  For I am flawed, and so blessed to have you all hugging me and praying for me in a church that is anointed and blessed, yet if you know my darkness will you still offer me light?  This hasn’t been my history so it is hard to grasp that it could be my future.

 

And I do know that my bullet point of my greatest accomplishments mean nothing, yet I needed to state them for fear of loss.  Of love, fellowship, and YOU.  Each and everyone of you who meet my eyes on a weekly basis and pray with me when I leave the service to grab a tissue because I miss my oldest boy.  I love each and everyone of you.  And I pray you still love me, even though I’m flawed, gravitated toward forgetting, and a broken child of God.

 

My shame in the perils of escape through drugs and alcohol have defined me for many years.  Success that many will never see has also defined me for many years.  And the God in my soul says NO!  None of it matters, success or failure He accepts me and hugs me like the father I long for.

 

Jesus is the King and through it is well.  Simply put… it is well with my soul.

 

Friends, I will NEVER be perfect, but I will forever need love. In my life my idea of my perfections have been rewarded with love, and mistakes that are punished with the very worst form of torture;  isolation. And sadly, as this was done to me by my parents as a child and still as an adult, it was what I gave myself in 2014.

 

If I’m writing books or in rehab,  I’m flawed, ugly with shame and still have the ability to fall.  So many thanks to you to my new family at Journey Church. I even obtained the mentor I have been praying for through her testimony one Sunday at church, of her struggle of parental abandonment and addiction.  Since then we meet regularly, she keeps me accountable and Alan and I are attending our first life group with her on Thursday…

That is community!!  The essence of where two or more is gathered greatness is imminent.  Isolation provokes death for your soul and body, yet communion invites prosperity and more joy than we can conjure up in our minds.
The chasm of greatness brings me to the soaring cliff of stamina where we all have the ability to jump to the other side of healing. That we are forever free, falling into the hands of grace and eternal forgiveness.

Oh, What a Beautiful Journey!

After years away from God, this prodigal daughter found her way home with a little bit of help from my boys.

13307492_10209179031022491_7503621198356673458_nFour years ago it seemed that after unthinkable  tragedy my family and I just couldn’t take another blow.  After two-second trimester infant losses, with burial sites side by side, my family and I felt as if we were left to bleed ourselves dry.

After what seemed to be the last fatal blow, I threw up my hands and took my son Cameron who was struggling deeply at the time to Journey Church up the road from where we lived. It was in the middle of the day, filled with the newness of spring but in my heart the end of a long dead battle with winter.

The Administrative Assistant, after spotting my tear filled eyes and broken spirit, went to find a pastor on duty…fast. Pastor Jonathan took us in and wiped our tears but mostly met my then 11-year-old son where he was…as true men of God do.

And I knew a thing or two of a true component of God.  I was raised in the church, a passionate youth who screamed the gospel of Christ at every avenue of life I encountered.  I spoke, sung, shouted, and lived Jesus.  But then I left Him.  As fast as the sun rose it set and in that I had come and gone away from my Savior.

But me seeing the consequences ahead I chose to saturate Cameron with Journey Kids. He even won a scholarship to summer camp that year, embodying the faith he was new to that was putting his broken heart back together again.  Now he serves regularly on the tech team, on Servolution Saturday’s, and is a leader at H20.  He has a passion for ministry and has been told he has a gift of wisdom with an emphasis in theology.

My husband and I saw the fruits of the church and the swift change in our son, but we still wanted nothing to do with it ourselves. It just wasn’t our “thing.”

Our then 14-year-old son Caleb was a harder sell to get to go to H2O. We saw what it was doing for Cam and wanted the same healing for Caleb. We had in fact just buried two infant sons in the past 18 months. Who couldn’t use a little healing after such losses?

After the bribe of a Chill and Grill and free ice cream, we convinced Caleb to go. He was met with music, fellowship and football on the shores of Lake Michigan. He was sold.

 

That summer Caleb taught himself to play the guitar, gave his life to Jesus and has been an instrument for God with growing momentum ever since. He is the worship leader for H20 and often is on the worship team for the big services. He is attending NCU this fall studying to be a…worship pastor.

My husband and I had no mistake in seeing what Jesus through Journey Church was doing through our son’s lives; we just wanted nothing to do with it.  It scared me, threatened to own me again, ultimately bringing me back to feelings of abandonment of parents who just didn’t want to stay. The broken inner child inside us can be really unforgiving at times.

I was still bitter personally, angry and stubborn. Why did God keep taking from me but forgetting to give back?

My sons encouraged us to come to weekend service and we told them that, although it was doing great things in their lives, we had no need for “religion”. I knew deep inside  my rage filled mindset that was a lie. I was just too proud to admit it.

My darkness grew fast eventually consuming me. As easy as it was for me to ask for help from God on behalf of my children I simply didn’t feel like I was worthy of God’s grace for myself.  I mean who walks away from God after over 25 years of deep commitment?  The idea of going back to church compounded my guilt, reminding me that I was unfaithful, that I did in fact,  walk away from the Lord who had never walked away from me.

Jesus kept melting my frozen heart, reminding me that I wasn’t the lost child, that I was His chosen child.

While my sons were at Winter Camp this past February I went to the Saturday night service. The first church service I had gone to in nearly 15 years.

And I was brought to my knees.

The Holy Spirit moved and I ran into His loving arms as Pastor Jordan sang the invitation song.  I took God up on the call He has on my life, the prophecy to use me, heal me, and put my broken pieces back together again. I ran to the altar and gave my life back to Christ.

Since then my husband and I have rarely missed a service. We are now on the First Impressions team for Journey Kids, telling parents all the amazing things Journey Kids and H20 have done for our kids. We have 2 younger kids who we now have the opportunity to raise in the church.

So what has coming to Journey Church through the medium of my kids done for me?

It has made me grow.

Brought me hope.

Made me seek.

Called me out.

Forged a smile when all I wanted to do was cry.

And brought out my inner Shine.  

And this is just the beginning…
I feel a gentle breeze against my face overwhelming me with peace, that I can fulfill my greatest destiny against the deepest of odds as I’ve found my way back into the loving arms of my Savior.

The Testimony

Hearing the testimonies of some amazing young people recently made me introspect and consilidate my own story…my reason for praise in midst of darkness.

 

lake_trail_by_alancross

I was raised in a Christian home.  Kinda.  My grandparents were my primary caregivers from age four until nine, and we went to church every Sunday morning.  Yet I longed for my mom and dad who were too busy living their own lives with their other families to care. At least that is how I felt.  And still do.

While doodling on the offering envelope with the smell of oak pews and mold in my essence I caught words in the sermon that yelled the consequences of not knowing Jesus as my personal Savior.  This revelation terrified me as I didn’t have a savior and the thought of flesh-eating fire was a little…well…scary.

So I accepted Jesus into my heart in the depths of the night, in the suburbs of Chicago as a little girl who had wide eyes of fear of a God who could abandon her and send her to hell as fast as the night turned to day.  It seemed real enough given my circumstances thus far in life.

Fast forward ten years where I was given the opportunity to truly experience Jesus through worship.  Music in its truest form has a way of convicting the heaviest of hearts and breaking through the thickest of oppositions.

I was sixteen, passionate, and in love with Jesus, proclaiming His Love and shouting His mercy at every turn.  I wrote an award-winning poem, I sang in worship, played my flute to his honor Him and brought the Word of God whenever I was asked in the form of speaking.

I.  Was. On fire.

Pain and parental abandonment meant nothing in the face of Christ’s unconditional love and that can be the raw beauty of a life story, the light is outweighed by the darkness.  Love gives way to hate and we can be set free…

I met my first husband at Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and we praised our God together.  Our testimony alone was the place we were despite the places we had come from.  And our spirits were full.

Until tragedy struck our young lives and instead of turning toward Him we fled.  Faster than the wind and swifter than a famine.  We abandoned our faith in exchange for anger and resentment of a God who had always given us all we needed.  We left Him and neglected His Grace because we couldn’t see The Testimony in the face of devastation.

We had a child, a  baby boy with black hair and big eyes encompassing possibility that I just couldn’t leave in a mess of complications filled with single parenthood.  So I followed the journey of godlessness, believing every last lie I was fed.  We were a family filled with love and questions of how God could bring tribulation to good people, and how Jesus could leave us unwashed with His grace?

I lived breathed and knew secularism.  It suited me, being a strong independent woman who knew who she was and where she wanted to go…on her own.  My future seemed bright and filled with joy and promise.  As the enemy screams so you succumb to the lies.

Eventually, divorce came and left me ragged, turmoil knocked at my door and Jesus never felt so far away.  I married again, a Canadian with a heart bigger than hearts themselves; just not enough to save me.

Because people never can save us.

We had a baby together in the cold of March and we felt the loveliness that a child comes from.  Yet we didn’t praise our God who gave, we simply just didn’t...

Then a year later we lost a baby in the warmth of spring with the songs of birds and promise.  Jaden Hope went on to the next and I hated God more now than ever.

“See!” I cried.  “You are not my God.”  No God would take the one thing I love the most, my children. 

Yet, eighteen months later I found out my twenty-three-week old baby boy would die too.

My anger peaked, my faith diminished further into a blur of reality and existence, a place where no one knows which is more powerful.

“This is why I don’t believe!”  I bellowed into the night’s sky trying to figure it all out.

Why?  Why just why?

He told me that I was not broken that I was filled.  And I shouted, “leave me alone, I don’t know what you want from me!”

Days later a dear friend from my youth prophesied over me telling me that God had provision over my life that I would find Him again and be even more of a powerful tool than I was in my youth.  My eyes rolled and my heart churned in a cadence of anger.  “You are not using me, God, for you have wrecked me.  You’ve taken from me.  You’ve left me for dead.  I hate you.”

Yet I didn’t hate, or regret, or demolish my God.  I was finding my way back through His grace.

For He had a plan.

Four years later as I gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl in the trenches of a cold December Wisconsin afternoon and then I saw His grace come full circle.  The hospital room was filled with people watching the unfolding of God’s promise and Truth as my tears met my husband’s forming a perfect Rainbow, letting us know we will never be stricken by the same tragedy twice and that we had finally met our Grace.

My climb back truly began somewhere in between.  My older sons at that time immersed themselves at Journey Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin after I brought them there instinctively after a major life crisis struck.

The sound of song flowed beautifully throughout my home as my oldest son, the black haired baby who had grown up found a passion for music as I had as a teen so many years ago.  My second son Cameron bled the Word of God and even though I wanted it back only in small pieces God always had a plan.

They begged us to come to church and I fought it until I just couldn’t deny the gift of grace on my life any longer.  The testimony begged to be told, the ending needed to be unveiled.  Because God told me one cold February night at Saturday church as Pastor Jordan sang and the angels watched that it was time to come home.

To fulfill the prophesy allowing my life to be used in a greater manner than it was in my youth.  It was time, and He told that through my suffering He was using me, waiting for me, but mostly, loving me.

And…He really was all along the way.

Luke 15:32… My son,the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.  But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
My life isn’t perfect, I struggle and then I fall.  I get it and then I don’t.  But through my vision of loss and redemption,  I see that my testimony alone is the place I am despite the place I came.  

Please enjoy the song that inspired this blog post…and may its words soak into your heart as you overcome odds and fulfill your destiny…

 

10 Reasons Why my Facebook Life is Fake

We all are guilty of taking 51 shots on our iPhones in order to get that one selfie that makes us look incredibly skinny, pretty and oh so perfect! That is the lure of publishing our lives on social media, we are finally in control of our lives that in reality we have no control over what so ever. So here it is folks, the really bad selfie of me!

Alan and Ami's bdayI am imperfect.    We all are.  Yet I feel social media is the perfect medium to allow our imperfect beings to show a false reality of what we really want to be seen…I admit it, right here, right now I fall into this category.  In the depths of loving the selfie taking, word choice moments that may have formed an unrealistic vision of who I really am, I want to call myself out, to let you see a glimpse of true reality.

I’m sorry if you feel lied to but this is really who I am…

1.  A divorced woman.  Yup.  I failed at marriage the first go around.  Indeed, my ex and I are still friends, we chose kindness not hate.  But we are still not one.  We are left nothing but..painfully divorced as a couple.  Leaving my two older sons with a mom and dad who didn’t keep to our original marriage vows, who are scattered amongst the wreckage of the rest of the world.

2.  I am an author.  I get to tell amazing stories for a living.  Yet in order to do so, I have lived a lifetime of hardships that allow my words to flow from my ache-ridden heart the way that they so fluently do.

3.  I have lived with a painful eating disorder.  I have posted pictures of a skinny skeleton of myself from my past with a story of the torture that comes with being so thin.  There is always at least one in the crowd who tells me how “great” I looked.  Yes, it looks great to live on 400 calories a day and to succumb to the pain that comes with the pressures of perceived perfection.

4.  I have no clue what I want to be in this life…still.  I’m 41 years old and have no idea what I’m going to be when I grow up.  Most women at my age can identify with being a stay at home mom, or having a career.  I am still in-between and after a few unpredicted situations of having to take a late stand in life against abusive people, I am still finding out just who I am and where I am supposed to be.

5.  I have a child who is leaving and one who is just starting out.   My oldest son of four children is getting ready to go to college and I am so very proud, beyond belief!  Yet, accepting he is leaving my nest is more difficult than I could have ever imagined.  I want to chase after him every time he comes home this last year he is under my roof and give him one last hug, just in case he should forget what it feels to have my arms wrapped around his neck.  Yet…I have a baby girl who I have dreamed of having my whole life who is just three years old.  She is just starting out, the breath of life is fresh and every new discovery is a light in her eye.  As much as I embrace it, there are times I wonder what it would be like to be simply saying goodbye to the teenager who begs for freedom, not starting all over again.  A sign that we are never truly content with what we have, are we?

6.  Depression, it hunts me down when I least expect it.  Ins and outs.  Ebbs and flows.  It always finds me.  End of story.

7.  I’m a figure skater.  I always wanted to be on the ice, and made the dream come true at the age of 30.  But by choice not by recognition of simply wanting to be something I wasn’t.  And  I’ve fallen more than I’ve landed.  I have more bruises than pretty dresses.  Anything worth while comes with hard work that is unthinkable to most…

8.  I have a love-hate relationship with any form of alcohol.  Being an ultra-controlling Virgo, I absolutely hate the idea of anything controlling me.  Submersed in the freeing feeling of one too many martinis I have to ask myself, is this where I really want to be?  Numbing the difficult day away, or truly feeling it through good times and bad?  Scrolling along on social media all we see is ways “wine” is the only solution to a difficult day, yet is that really any kind of a solution?

9.  I don’t speak to my father.  Because it is healthy.  And that alone hurts.  Way more than I ever lead on.

10.  My husband and I aren’t perfect.
  We take date night selfies.  We post our dinner recipes for the night, and show you our children’s pretty faces, but please know that we do fight.  We clash.  We are at odds, more than we’ll ever let you know.  But if anything in my life that is imperfect, my marriage is the one thing I’m the most proud of because no matter how flawed I am, no matter how much I struggle to find balance, my husband chases that dream with me.  And he perfects my imperfections with his own struggle, and he forces me to see my beauty more than any single human being ever has.  Simply what we all truly need in this life is that one person who has our back.  And that is what I don’t say enough on social media, that I’m flawed, I hurt, but through it all, I have a partner who is too.  He holds my hand and says, “we will make it through the struggle…together.”