Freedom

rain.jpgScattered heavy raindrops began to fall from the sky as I played in a nearby tennis court with my friends during our brothers baseball game. Slowly, the sporadic rain turned into a steady rainfall. My friends and I lifted our arms high and tilted our heads back as we allowed the rain to land in our open mouths. I remember the laughter that flowed from us and the glances that bonded us in that moment. Time slowed and we were nothing else but free.

Sitting here thinking of that moment, I can almost feel the same freedom I felt that day. I believe if it were to start raining right now I would want to run outside and try to relive it. I wouldn’t actually do it though. Well, unless my kids were with me. I would feel like an idiot standing in the rain by myself.

We all yearn for freedom. Look at the world around you. People are always seeking and fighting for it. Or, they’re in pain because they can’t find it or simply don’t have the strength to fight for it. What I see are people clinging to the the wrong kind of freedom or things that are not freedom at all. They just think or hope it is. Because those freedoms are always in exchange for something else. I wonder if deep down they feel a void knowing it isn’t what they really need to be seeking. Those freedoms are only temporary, they are shallow puddles that will soon dry.

Like me standing in the rain. That free feeling ceased. My friends and I became bored and cold. I remember having no towel in the car and I couldn’t wait to get home to change into dry clothes. Dry socks never felt so good. The rain was a fleeting childhood freedom. Some of my best memories surround such freedoms. Childhood freedoms, although innocent and pure, will never give us what we need.

There is only one real freedom in this life and that is freedom in Christ. Many of us “adult” christians know this already. Yet, we hesitate like I do when the thought of playing in the rain crosses my mind. Why can’t we fully embrace this freedom? We’re all sinners, duh. I wonder though…what would happen if we started running and clinging to Him like a child, regardless of what sin was standing in the way? Childlike faith, I believe it’s called (wink wink).

Would we better sway people away from the false freedoms they are rooted in if they saw us clinging more to the truth our hearts hold so dear? I think about my kids and the type of faith I want them to carry throughout their lives. I picture them standing in the rain with their arms up high and heads tilted back because they know freedom, real freedom, never will cease.

Raw

imageThe last year and a half has been rough on me. I haven’t wanted to fully admit it (even to myself) and I especially haven’t felt like discussing it. I don’t want to go into all the particulars that has caused this. Life is life and it isn’t always pleasant. For someone like myself, there is nothing harder than to watch bad things or bad times fall upon people I care about. I’m not saying this to prove I’m a good person, but I’d much rather have bad things happen to myself than to my peeps. That is the good and bad of the gift of mercy. I presume every gift has a weakness and Satan uses that weakness to try to tear us down.

Sometimes it is all the little instances that build rather than just one thing. A cousin commits suicide, an aunt overdoses and dies, an old friend dies, and the other instances I do not wish to share. My cousin left me hurting due to all the pain he endured and felt he couldn’t endure any longer. My aunt, where do I begin? I have fond memories of her wit and creativity. I also have painful memories of watching someone slowly destroy their life over many years. My old friend left me thinking of what more christians can and should do for those who live differently…those who have been dragged down, beaten, and have made poor choices because of this thing called life. Actually, everything from this past year and a half have left me thinking that.

My life has been rather “easy” compared to most. I know that and I am thankful. Maybe it has made it easier to have the faith I have. My struggles are insignificant compared to some and maybe that has made me “weaker”. I know some whom feel I haven’t truly lived. I must disagree. I believe we live through not just our own experiences, but through others as well. Our lives are connected and our lives have the power to alter the lives of others. Our lives are far from being isolated, that is a fact. Yes, I know no one else truly knows what it is like to live in thine own shoes, but that does not mean it doesn’t give insight and life to those around.

My somewhat easy life has left me raw and has left me stumbling. Last night, Matt and I had a conversation that I was yearning for and didn’t even realize I was. He thanked me for all the sacrifices I have made for our family and others. He told me he notices all I do. He said he doesn’t know how I do all I do. It made me weep uncontrollably. I did not know how much I needed to release. Those cleansing tears have left me feeling lighter today. Crazy what a few words from a loving husband can do for a person.

Hiding Spots

I remember this time when I was a child. I was under my parent’s bed. I was just lying there feeling completely content in the confined area. I remember the wood frame and how I thought it needed to be sanded. I rubbed my fingers across it sure that I would catch a splinter. It was peaceful under there, away from the loudness of my family. I was in my own world, all alone with my imagination. I even remembered thinking how odd it was that I liked it there.

I used to find solitude whenever I could, wherever I could. I didn’t understand why I craved it so.  I had hiding spots in my closet, in the basement, outside in the woods.  Some I remember vividly, others not so much.  What I do remember with all are the feelings of peace I felt.  It wasn’t that I did not enjoy being around others.  No, I had quite the carefree childhood, full of joy and laughter.  My parents took us on little adventures and I loved to play with others.  It was that I needed both even though I didn’t know I did.  I was self-aware long before I could understand what self-aware was.  I needed time to dream and to reflect.  I guess I was an old soul, I guess I still am.

As a teen, I outgrew my hiding spots. I stopped dreaming and reflecting. I stopped hiding. I wandered through my days and ignored my inner voice telling me to find a place to hide and dream. It wasn’t cool to do so and so I didn’t. I dabbled with a dream a bit here and there. I wrote and obtained enough peace to get by. It wasn’t enough, though. But, hey at least I was cool.

And then, I grew up…at least I thought I did. I worked full-time and went to nursing school full-time. My first college English Composition class awakened me. My professor was like, “Hey, you’re an awesome writer.  You really are.”  My classmates said the same.  I thought, yes I always have been.  I was just in a slumber for a bit.  I never wanted to share my real writing before unless I had to. So, I began to hide again. I hid wherever I pleased. All I had to do was grab a paper and pen and I was lost in my own world.  My peace came back, my dreams came back, I came back.

Now, that I am really grown up I hide when I get a chance, when my husband and kids aren’t in need of me. I embrace my way of finding peace and so does my love. He even bought me a new laptop, aka hiding spot, for Christmas. We are sitting across from each other right now together, yet hiding. Gotta love two introverts together!

This World Needs You, Oliver.

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We went to a birthday party last night. Oliver wasn’t feeling the party.  We walked in the house, he looked around to the many unknown faces, and plopped right on my lap.  I kissed the top of his head and he gave me his ‘I’m peopled out’ look. I whispered in his ear that it was okay.  Everyone kept asking if he was okay.  It made him cling to me more.  I started to feel self-conscious for him. I began to worry even though my instinct told me what was really going on.

So I whispered in his ear, “Sweetie, are you okay?  Do you feel okay?”

“Yes, Mommy,” he replied.

People kept staring at him, I kid you not, like there was something seriously wrong because he was not running and yelling like the rest of the kids. I almost spoke up, but sometimes it isn’t worth it.  But maybe I should have. I think I will next time.

Oliver is one of the most content people I know. He is laid back. He entertains himself and never complains he is bored. When he is comfortable with you, he is the funniest kid you’d ever meet. He lightens the tone in our house like no other. He isn’t shy and is FAR from being an insecure kid. He just doesn’t need or like to be center of attention.  He is an observer. He easily points things out about people that most young four year olds would never notice. He’s loud and he is quiet.  He is goofy and reserved.

He is a creative old soul…just like his mother. He is a story teller who never leaves out a detail.

He would rather know people before he shows himself to them.  He is selective with whom he does open up to.  I bet it is because he can read people…just like his mother.

He is empathetic. Without saying a word, he feels what I feel. “Mommy, you have a sad look in your eyes.  Don’t be sad, cutie-pie.”  He absorbs others emotions…just like his mother.

I want to raise Oliver knowing it is okay to be the way he is. I don’t want him having to figure that out in his twenties like I did.  My parents loved and accepted me and I was okay with myself…I just didn’t know what being an introvert was.  Back then, people didn’t use the term. The first time I read what it was, I felt free. I always knew I wasn’t shy.  Because to me, shyness stems from deep insecurities which I never really had. I just never knew how to describe myself and for a thinker and analyzer like me…it was dreadful not to know. Huge HUGE lightbulb moment. I’m an introvert, it all makes sense now!

Oliver will have an advantage I (and many others) never had as a kid.  I will be able to tell him about all the great introverts of the past.  The thinkers, the mercy-driven need to change and help the world doers, the inventors, the creators…those who refused to think inside the box. I don’t want him to feel he has to do what everyone else is doing all the time. I will relate to him when he feels someone in infringing on his individuality. I will be able to tell him, I know exactly how he feels.  I will be able to show him what a gift and what a strength it is.

God made him this way for a reason and I am so glad he did. I feel as though I should mention I love my extroverted son, just the same.  Luke teaches me to see the other side of things. I’m just as glad God made him extroverted. I am in awe in the way He designed my boys.  Luke with his Ocular Albinism needs to have the boldness God gave him. He really does. Oliver, needs all of his strengths and sense of mercy. I already see how Oliver cares for Luke. He watches out for him and he accepts Luke like no one else in this world does. This world needs Oliver, Luke needs Oliver. Oliver needs Luke too. Luke pulls Oliver out of his own mind and shows him the other side of life.

They just fit together, they are the perfect brothers. I am moved to tears thinking of how God made them to be brothers. To think, I was scared to have a second child. Okay, I’m done now. The end!

 

Rambling. Unwinding my mind. Vacation

Every so often my mind gets wound up so tight I almost cannot form a full thought.  I know the triggers and I know the cure.  Writing.  Writing is my therapy.  The problem arises when I simply do not have the time to do so. When life gets hectic, I need to do a better job at taking care of myself.  We were on vacation and I did not write once.  Then we got back I found myself busy trying to get my little peeps back in their normal routines.

Maybe I need to start bringing a pad of paper and pen with me when I go on vacation. Sometimes all it takes is twenty minutes of writing.  Instead of being in my present state of mind where I feel as though it will take a couple days of writing sessions to unwind my mind.  I should know better by now.  It is all a huge part of being my introverted self. When I do not take care of myself I become more introverted.  I feel as though my introversion is a strength…until moments like this.  Which I guess we all have things that become weaknesses when not channeled properly.

Enough of that nonsense.

Vacation was nice.  My parents live out of state and we went to visit them.  We did just about all of my favorite things. Beach.  Pool time.  Horseback riding, which rekindled my love of horses. Hanging out and taking care of animals at the ranch.  Spending time with my parents.  Watching my parents spend time with my boys.  Here are some pictures…