Is it really black or white?!

I am literally sitting at the beach right now and I don’t want to leave! The air is cool and the ocean sounds and smells are surrounding me like a warm hug as I sit on the sand.

I have been thinking about my life and my relationships this morning. I have been talking to this guy and we are making plans to meet soon (socially distanced, of course). There is my former crush that I am definitely not over even though I am forcing myself to move on. And then my biggest relationship, with Jesus. I have been ignoring Him, too; it is almost like I don’t want to disappoint Him because I am looking for something.

But is Jesus ever really disappointed in me? All my Christian friends would tell me that God loves all his children and nothing can turn Him away. I am not 100% sure I buy all that, though. And it is almost like I am a willful child who is doing stuff that I KNOW will push the limits of His love for me. I mean, as I mentioned before I am not interested in remarriage. It has ended badly for me twice, first time shame on you and second time shame on me, right?! I am absolutely looking for a man to share my blessings with, though.

Having God in my life keeps me in check so I don’t put the cart before the horse physically so I guess I am not completely off the deep end with my search. Every text or phone conversation feels like I am sinning, though. My black or white mentality is big and strong right now!!

I suppose the bottom line is this…having conversations with someone I want to maybe spend more time with is not wrong and if I get to the point that I want it to go farther I will have to work through that THEN. All this talk about finding what makes me truly happy means nothing at all without Jesus in my ❤

Using God’s Hands to close a Door

I did it–I closed my business. God and I have gone back and forth about this one because I have wanted to do it since I lost my Beloved but God told me to wait. I started this business with Albert pushing me. Every time I wanted to quit he was the first one to tell me I couldn’t or I shouldn’t. I really lost my mojo after I found out he was sick and I slowly backed away. I changed over to cats only after he passed but even that was not enough of a change. I needed to close it as the official business because I am scared. I need to have faith to move a mountain and not have fears that the one who made me and made the world can’t handle something as little as my life without pet sitting to fall back on.

God gave me the animal shelter to take my mind off of it. He gave me the animal shelter to keep me from falling into a pit of despair and hopelessness because I feel alive when I am there. Mostly, though, he gave me the animal shelter to remind me that I am strong enough to figure it out and pay my own bills without anyone else. I know that God put me in the right place at the right time because He knew it would do all this for me. And I am grateful.

Here is where it gets tricky, though. God ALSO has reminded me how I need to be wise about it and not just quit Amanda’s Kitty Pals. I need to make sure I am financially secure before I completely walk away from the business because even though I am over it I need to be a grown up and have a plan. I didn’t want to do that but I did. Just to make sure I was true in my promise, He had me lose a pretty big account. I believe God was testing me to see if I would use that as an excuse to walk away from the business before I was ready. I am listening these days so I didn’t!

I still have accounts and I will continue to cat sit as an individual until I am fully stable but I am almost there. And I have a plan to get another job so I can actually save some money instead of just making enough to live. I am pretty sure God has his hands on that as well!

Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27

Do you see God in your everyday life?!

Hey Everyone! I hope you are all having a great week. I am, things have been pretty awesome at the shelter and I have been trying to develop a relationship with a pet store near us that would be willing to foster some cats in the store so we can try to get them adopted. I have a diabetic cat that is beautiful and charming, but also needs two shots a day. That shouldn’t be an issue except that everyone who falls in love with her backs away when the insulin is mentioned. Haley feels like it is because people don’t want to have to do the shot but I think it is 50% that and 50% a money issue. Insulin is actually not terribly expensive, but if you don’t know you don’t know! Anyway, I am praying that Mia finds the perfect person to adopt her while she is being fostered by Pet Valu.

That actually ties into the reflect for day 14. It asks me to reflect on recognizing God throughout my day. It says to redirect my thoughts from my busyness to His goodness to fuel my gratefulness. I wish I could say that I do recognize God throughout my day but that would be a lie, and lying is a sin! (It is, right? If it isn’t it should be!) I will start doing this consciously tomorrow, but I will go over the different times from today here.

The first way that I feel God was with me was when I awoke this morning. Opening my eyes and taking in the air and the world around me is such a gift and I get to open it every day! I usually thank God for letting me have another day before I even get out of bed so I guess I recognize Him then. I went to do a feline care job (thank you God for the gift of understanding cats!) and then to Home Depot to buy a few things for the shelter and my house. (Thank you God for giving me the opportunities I need to make the money!) I went to the shelter after that and was able to catch two of the difficult cats to put outside on the Catio (the shelter is being sprayed for bugs and fleas). No one else could get them outside and they were afraid to use the heavy duty gloves to pick them up. So thank you God for allowing me to not be afraid when handling the difficult cats. And while I am at it, thank you for putting me in this place. Haley and Jessica are definitely attune to the dogs’ needs and quirks and Heidi and I are the cat whisperers. Heidi is probably more on the dog side but she is a really big help to me so I am claiming her hahaha. I walked with a friend today (I recognize God’s gift of the physical ability to walk). Thank you for giving me the words I needed to talk to the people at Pet Valu and Thank you for putting someone there who can give Mia her insulin (she has a diabetic dog so the shots are no big deal plus she can watch for signs of distress in Mia because she knows what to look for!) Finally, Thank you God for giving me the thoughts and words necessary to write in this blog. Hopefully I will reach someone who needs to be reminded that God shows up in everything they do.

So that is it. I see God in really everything that goes on in my day to day life. I have only really “seen him” on the big stuff but this exercise has reminded me that he is there for the little stuff, too. All the little things add up to big things to help me live my best life. So Thank you God for my best life!

Behold I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Exodus 16:10

Just call me Peter…Simon Peter…

So I am not sure what to do lately. I have been trying really hard to be who I think God wants me to be. I really believe that the perfect person is out there, and that God has it set up in my life. I just have to be patient. Have I mentioned how much I hate waiting for stuff?!

I had a someone come to the house and hang out with me for a few hours. We sat outside and talked, it was actually really great. The only problem was that he called me “religious.” Like 3 different times. And it wasn’t a compliment. I don’t think it was a dig, either, I truly think he was just pointing out the fact that he knew my religion was strong and important. He didn’t try to kiss me or do anything other than talk. I am not sure what he was expecting when he agreed to come over but he absolutely respected me and my Faith while he was here. So why did him calling me “religious” feel like he was calling me damaged or less than?!

I AM “religious.” I am proud to be “religious.” Or am I ? I was embarrassed and…I don’t know…ashamed! I actually looked around my house at anything that made me look like I was, I don’t know, a Jesus Freak. I contemplated taking down the song lyrics to a Christian song about Faith that I had hanging in the bathroom and all the different signs of my strong Faith. I was trying to keep my Christianity in the little box I have had it in all these years. I doubted the path that I know I should be on. The path that I WANT to be on. I know that finding a love that puts God first is going to be so different and so amazing. I know that I need to do this. But when it came down to it, I definitely wanted to go back to being the person I used to be. The person who loved first and learned about a person second. The person who is so needy for love that she ignores it when things are not as good as they should be because they are good sometimes. Is this a test? Do you think God is testing my faith by sending me someone to call me religious as a bad thing and seeing how I would handle it? If that is the case it was an epic fail. I should be proud to be called religious!

I made an appointment with a pastor so I can get some insight. I need someone to tell me why I am doubting so much. I don’t know if I even ever want to get married again, but I don’t want to just be alone. So how does that go? And how do I know when it is time to become intimate? Or is there ever a right time if you aren’t married? It seems like in the Bible couples slept together and then they were married. So…if I meet the person I think is perfect for me and decide to be intimate with them, am I basically agreeing to marry them?

My head is spinning and I need to go to sleep. I am going to keep unpacking this in my mind and in this blog. Please comment if you have some insight!

Song of Solomon 8:7: “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”

Day 6 and Day 7…plus some extra :)

Hello again, Friends! I know that I am not being consistent with my 21 day plan, but in my defense I am actually very busy with cat sitting jobs. My heart is learning to be grateful, I have added thanks for things I would not have previously thanked God for in my morning chat with Him. I don’t have any regrets about it because I still feel like am growing in my faith. By not rushing through the days just to finish them, I am really ingesting each point.

Speaking of points, let’s get to the points of Days 6 and 7. Day 6 asks me to write down struggles that I am in and how I feel God is helping. I think this one is important because I have said before that I definitely have trouble with seeing God’s presence in my struggles.

I guess the biggest struggle would be starting my business. I have been in this field for far too long to be struggling like I am now. However, if I flip that around I can say that I am NOT in the same field. I am in a similar one, but cat sitting and cat behavior is completely different then dog walking and general pet sitting. I don’t wake up in the morning and think that I am doing another day of the same ole stuff. I had to stop dog walking so I could care for Albert and God provided for me by pushing me towards taking feline behavior courses. When my season of caring for him was done, I had all these new skills to push me forward in a new direction that was comfortable for me but challenging at the same time. Being that I am in a somewhat new area (an area that is SATURATED with pet sitters!) I am able to stand out from the crowd because I 1. offer feline only care and 2.offer behavior skills that others don’t have. There are other struggles, but this one is the main one that I thank God for.

Day 7 asks that I thank God for…ME! Since I am one of God’s masterpieces, why shouldn’t I thank God? The reflect was to look in the mirror and say thank you. I don’t have a mirror in front of me but truthfully I am pretty vain so I know 🙂 I will start with thanking God for my beautiful blue eyes and smile. I am thankful that I have features that are all in perfect alignment with my face, nothing is too big or too small. I have great skin, few wrinkles or grays and don’t look my age at all. I am also thankful that I still feel confident and beautiful even though I am not “thin.” I am bigger than I want to be but I still feel strong and empowered. I continue to lose weight and build up my strength (I thank God for MOB-fit because it is such a welcoming place, the perfect place for me to be!) but not because I think I need to so I will fit into some kind of version that society states.

For the things to thank God for that are not physical or maybe not even positive is next on my list. I thank God for my inquisitive nature because I am always finding new ways to do things and new, exciting things in my every day life. And I thank God for all the trials and tribulations that have formed the person I am. I can’t remember the last time I was bored! There are so many other things but these are the big ones.

And more… I have one more thing I want to talk about. On Sunday, Pastor Darren talked about Jonah and how he heard God but he ignored it. He did more than ignore it, he did something else instead. And all the puzzle pieces fell into place for him to leave, including a boat going where he wanted to go. The point of the story was that there is always a “boat in the harbor” to take you somewhere else when God asks something of you. And here is my question. How do I know? I have always felt like I will just know when it is God speaking to me and not Satan. I know when something is not right or when it is something that completely goes against the teachings in the Bible. I mean, duh?!

After listening to the sermon, though, I am not confident that I know who is speaking to me. Part of how I feel like I can tell it is what God wants me to do is because everything falls into place for me. If it too hard, I just reassess what I am doing because it is obviously not what God wants me to do. But now when things fall into place maybe it isn’t God who is pulling the strings for me after all? Of course I am talking about things that are in line with the Bible and what I know is God’s will. Here is a real life experience. When Al died, I had a number of people tell me how great I was with caring for Al and how I should think about going into care giving or nursing. I thought about it but then I was reminded of all the work I had been doing for my cat sitting business. I decided that it was God’s will for my life that I continue to work on that business. Then one of my clients (and I consider a friend) got sick and needed care. I already care for his pets daily but now he was looking to have me do some “home health care” stuff. I didn’t want to do it. It reminded me so much of caring for Albert before he died so that didn’t help my mental state of mind. But–I was thinking that maybe God DID want me to get into the care giving after all? It was uncomfortable and not everything God gives me is rainbows and unicorns. But I am really pushing my boundary lines in my business. I am giving cards to people when I want to just walk by and I am talking about cat behavior stuff to…really anyone who will listen! I don’t talk to strangers. I don’t talk to friends even sometimes! But now you can’t shut me up hahahaha! Instead of going back to bed when I get home (my mind and body are begging me to!) I work on the business. So what gives? Maybe this goes back to having faith in what God’s plan for me is. I just have to trust that if I am making sure I do things that align with the Bible, it is the right thing. Right?

Do you think about the sacrifice that Jesus made and God allowed?

My reflect for today is to write a few things that come to mind when I think about the sacrifice God made by giving his son to the world. To repeat how it is written in my YouVersion study, Jesus experienced the humanity and in humility was put to death for our sin and shame.

I have written about this before, how unbelievably huge that sacrifice was. I have often thought about my own children and whether I could make the same sacrifice. Although I would never know if I wasn’t in that actual situation, I am pretty sure I would not be able to do it. I really make a conscious effort not to make things TOO easy for my kids, but I definitely try to make their lives as easy as I possibly can. And even if I was able to just let them go somewhere that I KNEW would be a bad place with a definite death sentence at the end, could I just sit back and wait for it to be finished when my son cried out to ask why I had forsaken him? I don’t think so!

It is just another way to show that God is…well, God! Although he is portrayed as a kind and loving Father, he seems pretty cold and distant to his followers. I definitely feel like I relate more to Jesus because he was a human man and he had human emotions. I am absolutely not trying to say that my Father is emotionless, but the fact that he didn’t experience earthly emotions is the only way he could have turned his back on his son and allowed him to be beaten and mocked before dying for humanity.

So I guess my reflection on the sacrifice is that it was a mighty sacrifice that could not have been made by an earthly father. That does not make it any less huge or amazing!

Day 3–wonderous acts, anyone?

So today is day three of my YouVersion Bible Study, 21 Days to cultivate a grateful heart. In day three, I am asked to write 5 (or more) wonderous acts of God that I have seen in my life lately. A wonderous act is described in YouVersion as how God provided in a time of need, someone he used to impact you or your family’s life, how he protected you or someone you love, or anything else that made you go “Wow, God”

I definitely used to watch out for these little “God smiles” I called them. Things that were definitely given to me by God and they made me smile (original, I know!) Somewhere along the way, though, I lost my way. Maybe it was when Al’s first scan showed that the chemo was keeping the cancer at bay but not really doing anything to slow it or make it go away. I believe that was the first time that I doubted that God “had my back” and I am still fighting those feelings of abandonment. One of the biggest reasons for this blog actually! Anyway, back to the wonderous acts.

I see God smiles all around me. When I was having tiny anxiety attacks about my non-existent bank account and the large part of my rent that I had to use to fix my car, I suddenly found myself with a job that was going to pay me enough to cover the rent and plump my savings up just enough so I could breath again. When I run into my neighbor and he tells me how happy he is that my son and I are going to stay in our apartment another year, it reminds me that I have begun a community where I live and people actually care about ME. Sometimes I forget that I am more than just “Al’s wife”, and God sends people like my neighbor to remind me. Along the same line, I had lunch recently with a few of Al’s friends that I made while he was sick. I told them how nice it was to have lunch with them and how I felt like they actually invited me to lunch because they wanted to see me, not because they missed Al and I was the sloppy second or whatever so they figured it was as close to him as they would get. When we talked about that, they said they couldn’t figure out why Al never really introduced us and a voice in my head (God, is that you? It’s me, Margaret…) told me that perhaps I only met the friends of Al’s that he wasn’t close to because he was worried that they would like me more than him. Al loved to be the most important person in the room so that is not really a stretch! When I am waiting in line at the deli to get something for a client and a woman comments on my kitty sneakers, which turns into a discussion about her cats and how her sister is selling her house and moving so this woman is not sure what she will do for vacations; I know that is God putting people in my path that need my help and in turn are helping me with building my small empire (insert maniacal laugh). Finally, last week at church I told a friend about my struggles with entering the church after I had driven there and she told me she had the same experiences and how she worked through them. It was so healing to know that I am not alone in this fear. God sent her to be in my path so I would tell her my story and she would validate it and tell me hers.

I had forgotten to look for the God smiles in my daily life. I am smiling as I am writing this blog…I think it is time to put my detective hat back on and look every day. I guess it is like breathing, you don’t realize how important it is (like, life giving and stuff!) and you never really stop to think of how great it is to be able to breath. Without reminding myself of all the ways that God DOES have my back, it is easy for me to hold on to the grudge I have against him. But maybe daily reminders of His goodness will melt that ice. Cultivate…I don’t know…a grateful heart?

An attitude for gratitude, Day 2

Today’s response is to write out 5 things I am grateful for.  That is easy enough, I am grateful for many things in my life so coming up with 5 will be a piece of cake.  But wait, they should be a sacrifice.  What?!  According to YouVersion, a sacrifice means it hurts a little (or a lot).  So…I need to thank God for things that hurt a little (or a lot!)?  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6 (NIV)   Okay okay.  Here it goes–

The most glaring thing to thank Him for is Al dying.  I have to be honest with you here.  I know that Al’s death was something that I had to go through for me to become the version of myself that God has planned for me.  I believe that maybe God had his reasons for “taking” Al, perhaps to fulfill Al’s destiny as well.  But THANKING him for me losing my husband seems like a stretch!  I am, however, giving myself completely to God and to this process.  So I will do it.

The second thing is also connected to Al dying, and that is to thank God for the ability to care for him as he died.  I have actually thanked him for this one before.  Although watching the person you love most in this world fade away before your eyes is not even remotely “thanks inducing”, I do believe that I learned some valuable skills from the 14 month process.  I learned to not accept the status quo from the health care providers.  I learned that no one will tell you anything without being asked first and I learned that Dr.s and Nurses don’t know it all.  Most importantly, I learned that I have a loud and powerful presence and was no longer afraid to use my voice to make sure things went the way Albert wanted them to go, especially when he was too weak to speak for himself.  Recognizing that this was a gift from God that I was given to help me in my situation made it very “thanks inducing” after all.  And I have thanked Him.  But I will again because it was not an easy gift to receive from my Father.

The third thing I will thank my Lord for would be the death of my brother, Kevin.  This is another one that I am able to see the gift from God in because the senseless death (he committed suicide) opened my eyes to the fact that I had a senseless existence in a lot of ways.  You never really know why a person takes their own life, you can only speculate.  I surmised that Kevin was unhappy with how his life was going and chose to just end it instead of working to make it better.  I know the decision was NOT that easy for him and their were undoubtedly other variables, but this simplistic theory made me take an account of my own existence.  I changed a lot about myself and my plan for the future.  I went back to school online to get a Bachelors degree in Library Science and moved to a new job in the daycare field that I was in.  After graduating, I got a short gig working Saturdays at a library and to quote “In Living Color”…Hated It In Living Color GIF from Hatedit GIFs

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!  Still, I thank God for giving me the skills, time and energy to complete my degree.  And I never would have even gone there if my brother hadn’t died and forced me to question my own life.

The fourth sacrificial thank you I am offering to my Dad is the birth of my children.  Having children is one of the biggest gifts I have ever received, but also one of the biggest challenges of my life.  My first child was breach and born via C-section, pretty scary for a 21 year old girl who is basically a child herself.  Worrying about how they will all be every minute of the day is quite a challenge.  Throw in a few grand kids and I am surprised I even have time to think about anything else!  However, the birth of my three children coincided with three life altering events.  My brother Greg died in a car crash a few days before I found out I was pregnant with my oldest, my Grandfather died a few days before I found myself pregnant with my second, and truthfully I found myself pregnant with my third right around the time I was really having doubts about whether I would stay in my marriage.  We did ultimately divorce, but not for three years after.  That pregnancy was what convinced me to stay and even though I don’t know what it is, I am sure there was a reason God needed me to be where I was for a little bit longer.  So thank you, God!

For a fifth thanks, I am struggling.  Who would have thought I could struggle to decide on painful things to thank God for?!  I could thank him for my childhood, it was pretty rocky at times but also pretty great.  But maybe too broad a topic?  Thank God for the trials and tribulations of starting my pet sitting business?  I definitely cried out that I couldn’t do it anymore and put it in God’s hands before I saw any kind of spark that the business just might fire up and become the bonfire it was.   I am kind of in that position again while I get my cat behavior/cat sitting business off the ground but I am not afraid this time because I know that God has got me in his hands.  My earthly step-father dying was pretty awful.  I still haven’t been able to find the “reason” for that death, so I think that is what I will pick.  I feel like thanking God for something that I have been able to see the path it has pushed me on is cheating in a way.  Faith is something that I feel in my heart and soul, even when I can’t or haven’t seen the end result.  But thanking him for making things sometimes hard and uncomfortable to shape me into the person I am today and the person I will become doesn’t seem hard at all!

 

 

21 Days to a grateful heart…

I have started (and recently restarted because I wasn’t giving it the kind of attention that I wanted!) a plan to help me see the gratitude in my life instead of just seeing the big holes of ugliness that seem to keep popping up. I have been reading different bible plans over the years to coincidence with my life and this one is no different.  To be sure that I follow it and put the energy and focus in that I think I need, I am going to write down the reflect section here. Starting today!

So today’s reflect–Gratutude is a condition of the heart. Let’s kick these 21 days off with a heart-check. What was the last thing you thanked God for? What’s in your heart that is blocking you from cultivating gratitude? Are you more focused on what you didn’t get rather than what has been given? (courtesy of YouVersion “21 Days to a Grateful heart”. http://www.elevatehim.com )

I thank God every day for another day so I would say that was the last thing. The thing in my heart that is blocking me from cultivating gratitude is my doubt. It isn’t that I don’t believe in God’s almighty power, but I don’t believe He will use it for me. Does that mean that I don’t feel like I am worthy of having a life that my Father would have planned for me? Or am I just so convinced that everyone eventually lets me down so why not
have a “plan B” in case God does, too? I am not more focused on what I didn’t get than what has been given to me because I know in my heart of hearts that everything I have been given (or denied!) is part of His master plan for my life. But there again, are those just words I am telling myself or do I truly believe that God has a plan for me? Doubt. It is a wormhole the Devil has used often to work his way through my brain! But not anymore. Starting right now, I say “Not today Satan!”

How about you?  Read the reflect section above and answer the question for yourself.  Was it an eye-opening experience for you like it was for me?  Let me know in the comments 🙂    Until tomorrow, Peace and Love!

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First Mother’s Day—check!

I just read another post from a widow that was so much more engaging than mine and I was upset (jealous?). Then I heard a voice (God probably!) reminding me that I am speaking my heart for myself, not anyone else. He also reminded me that I don’t always speak my whole truth, because I am afraid of offending or hurting someone’s feelings. I heard you loud and clear! I am trying not to forget that I started this so I could speak without fear of what other people think. And I am following my instruction book, the Bible. All that being said, here is today’s musing 🙂

When Jesus went to the cave that Lazarus was buried in, he wept. Not because he didn’t have faith in God’s will, but because he was troubled about the sorrow and tears of his friends around him. He had to have known he was going to raise Lazarus, but instead of smiling and saying to Martha and Mary, “It’s all good. Watch what I can do!”, he wept along with them. I guess the moral of this story, for me, is that even Jesus grieved a dead friend. He knew in his heart that it would be okay (like I know in my heart that Al is alive with God and is better than he has ever been) but he still had the human emotion of loss and grief. I am not sure if this makes sense with the story I am telling, but they are completely tied together in my mind!

Yesterday was my last bereavement group meeting. We shared memories and photos about our lost loved ones, and also we talked about the last holiday (Mother’s Day) and how that went for everyone. It was interesting because we all have lost someone we loved, but Mother’s Day was a different holiday, depending on who we lost. One of the women in the group lost their Mom so the holiday was really hard. Others had lost children, and that was hard for them as well. One thing I have learned is that time is never an option for how easy a holiday is. You just learn to work around the sadness and loss. Mother’s day was not hard for me, at least not harder than any other day that I had to be around people. Just getting out of the house is a big accomplishment!

The hardest thing for me is always the fact that Al cannot speak. People that I know he did not get along with are trying to act like they were best friends and it makes me so angry! Because I know that I am alive and have to live with the people around me, I don’t try to alienate anyone 🙂 Instead, I just avoid situations (or people!) where that is going to happen.

This was true on Mother’s Day. My Mom and Al never got along. She doesn’t try to act like they were besties but she does try to say things to comfort me when I am upset and I feel like she is lying. I just remember that she gave me grief about us moving to the shore (and farther away from her) when we told her that Al wanted to be by the water. And that when I told her his cancer was stage 4, she told me that her friend was a nurse and she said stage 4 is not terminal. I am not sure where she was going with that and I didn’t ask because I didn’t think it was going to go anywhere good! I know she is trying to help and I know she doesn’t mean to make me angry, so I don’t do anything that will get that movie started. On Mother’s Day, we went to my cousin’s house for lunch. She has a new grand baby that I got to meet for the first time. The thing is, I didn’t hold him. I was worried that holding him and smelling his sweet baby smell would make me cry (not unlikely since everything makes me cry these days!) and I did not want to give my Mom a reason to comfort me. As soon as I start crying, I can’t always stop. And, of course, when I am crying in front of people I feel the need to explain why (which makes it worse and makes it hard to me to calm myself.) I recognized that I was playing it safe and not enjoying myself, so I eliminated the trigger. I brought my Mom home and went back to hold the baby. My cousins and I talked about Al a little and hung out. I even cried a little without anyone asking me if I was okay or what they could do. My cousin just got me a tissue and kept talking about Al. I think that was the first time anyone just talked about Al without it being a sad or awkward story and that was so nice!!!

Hopefully I will be able to have more interactions like that and I need to learn how to spend time with my Mother and not feel like she is lying to me. I love my Mom, even though I don’t always understand her. And I know she has my best interest at heart.