Bullying

An 8-year-old girl sits alone on the swingset at recess, looking down at what you’ve just thrown at her. Her tears hit the rocks, they hit the swing, they hit papers now fluttering by the her that say 1-800- Jenny (aka Jenny Craig). At 8, she’s already sensitive to her height (she’s the tallest kid in class), and her weight. At 8. No child should be worried about being teased about this. And why should you care to point this out, you’re only 8 too? This was a girl you once played with. She came to your birthday party. Why the change? Why are you mean to her now?

If you had the chance to apologize to someone you were mean to would you take it? Or would you want a bully to reach out to acknowledge their wrong-doings to you?

20 years.

20 years ago I was a real jerk. I was the girl that threw the papers. I went home the day before to type it up. A few days before that, I hatched the planned with a couple other mean 8-year olds. Weeks before I probably realized the fact that it was a bully or be-bullied world; not recognizing that their are indeed, more than those two options.

For the past 10-12 years (thanks social media) I’ve tried to looked that little 8-year-old girl up. To make sure she’s doing ok. To apologize for that day…and for so many other times. To let her know that I AM NOT A MEAN GIRL ANYMORE. Her hurt resonated with me so much, that because of her, I have vowed to never be mean to another person. To never treat anyone as less than. To be kind, and a friend to all. (Sorry that I’m also a little shy, so that comes off as mean at first!) I haven’t been able to find her, until today.

Today I googled it all. Her name. Her name plus her oooooold dog’s name (pretty sure her dog still isn’t alive). Her name plus her dad’s job. Her name plus…. everything. TODAY HER SISTER’S NAME popped up in my head! 20 years.

After a lot of stalking; I found her. And I’ve practice my note to her so many times…. but now I can send it and I find myself wondering: Is this for her, or is this for me?

Will this open up hurt that she’s over? Will it be cathartic for her that her pain has been acknowledged? Will she even care?

The note has been written. Tonight I pray over it. Tomorrow… I send it?

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dear alien parasite baby,

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You’re a boy!

Your momma is the cutest, tallest pregnant woman. I’m so thankful you’re no longer making her super sick. She’s so excited for you to come out into this world! We all are.

We’re a little nervous how Taj the cat is going to react to you. He’s kind of crazy. I hope you love him.

I pray for you daily. I ask God to watch over you, to continue to bless you with health (and your family too). I talk to Jesus about my fears- this world is crazy kid. I’m nervous what kind of world you’ll grow up in. He calms me by reminding me how loved you are. You parents are awesome people. Your grandparents and aunt got your back too.

My prayer includes attributes I hope you have- I hope I can help instill. That you are kind. That you include others and stand up for those who need it. For you to have a healthy fear of the Lord, and serve Him. Hard-working is another quality I hope you have. That you don’t give up, and are constantly motivated. However I can help in this, let me know.

I love you, baby boy, regardless of whatever crazy name your parents come up with.

there’s something therapeutic about the ocean

I’ve lived in three beach towns. I know, how lucky am I?

My favorite time to be at the beach (alone) is when it’s a little gloomy out, with some coffee. It’s just like so… perfect. There aren’t a lot of people there, it’s peaceful, and seemingly calm.  It brings me to a contemplative place. I do my best thinking here. I cry here. I pray here. I write here. I dream here. (yes I am that weird girl sitting by the beach on a cloudy day with her journal, crying. I’m ok with that.)

On this particular day, I just asked God to comfort me- to remind me of my purpose. That my relationships are not solely MY relationships, and are to be used for His glory.

I think cloudy days are essential in life. They’re days I can sit still and just feel all my feelings. Happy. Sad. Hurt. Thankful. Cloudy days are few and far between, but important.

You know what kind of days are also important? SUNNY SELFIE DAYS!

These are the days you want your people at the beach. They’re days of laughter, fun, and lots of chasing nephew games. Sunny days are also for heavy thinking, but a different sort. I think about how happy life is. I don’t feel hurt (except for those dang jellyfish!). Sunny days are for making happy memories. Sunny days are important.

 

Family

Families are weird.

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a photo from my search & find trip- everything looks happy doesn’t it.

I think if we were all honest, every family has their secrets. From the outside a family might look extremely put together, but get an insider’s perspective & every family has some -ish going on. Like you’re not going to Instagram your shit. Just the good stuff, right?

From childhood it’s been preached to me to keep family drama ONLY within the family. We just don’t talk about it with others. WHY!? why? WHY!? As soon as I opened up about my family’s struggles I have found SO much solidarity and support from friends. Friends who then feel like they can tell me what hurt they’ve been harboring too. It’s like therapy, but better, because these people love me, and love my family.

A loving mom, a supportive dad, the happiest childhood, college educated, I could go on forever and ever how #blessed I am, and from an outsider’s perspective they would never imagine the pain my family goes through each and every day.

My older sister has not talked to my family in a long time. My parents don’t even like to talk about it, they cry each time they do- but I know they feel like failures. Earlier this year my parent’s were so nervous that she wasn’t ok (and that my precious nephew) wasn’t ok as well, that they sent me to FL to check in. I messaged my sister, what seemed like 100 times, to tell her I was coming. No response. I was expected to fly to FL and just find her.

No pressure.

I went. She’s alive.

The trip went. Was it good? Not especially. Was it life-changing? Nope. My greatest hope for that whole trip was that she knows my family loves her and my nephew. I pray that she knows they’re loved and wanted.

Today let someone know if you’re hurting, also let someone know that they are loved and wanted.

 

 

GKTW

“Give Kids The World is a non-profit organization that exists only to fulfill the wishes of all children with life-threatening illnesses and their families from around the world to experience a memorable, joyful, cost-free visit to the Central Florida attractions, and to enjoy the magic of Give Kids The World Village for as long as there is a need.

Here, children and their families are treated to week long, cost-free fantasy vacations, complete with accommodations in whimsical villas, transportation, donated attraction tickets, meals, and much more.

At the Village, these children learn that dreams really do come true as they and their families are immersed in joy, love, and hope for a few unforgettably happy days.

Since 1986, Give Kids The World Village has hosted more than 140,000 families from all 50 states and 75 countries.” – Give Kids The World

One of my goals for 2017 was to volunteers at GKTW. The silver-lining to my search for my sister in Florida, was being able to volunteer here!

I can’t stress it enough- the people here are AMAZING. I’ve never felt more welcomed and invested in- AND I WAS JUST A VOLUNTEER! When I’ve sent families here, they come back saying it should be called Give Kids The UNIVERSE, and I totally agree. There is just something so magical about this place.

Also, I met the mayor. Mayor Clayton. AND I FREAKED OUT.

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Thanks Give Kids for making our kids and families royalty for a week!

dear alien parasite baby,

Jesus,

please be with Gayle & Patrick’s baby. help this baby grow into a healthy, healthy, healthy child of yours. sometimes with my job, i can get paranoid with health, and how that’s something that is so fragile and not in our hands. i pray that this child is the Chris Traeger of humans.

Lord, i pray that you place people in this child’s life to love them, and to guide them to You.

Father, i pray in challenging times that they know You are there, holding them. i ask you to protect them. there are so many times i look back at my life and am so thankful you were with me- that i have never been a part from you. i plead that this is true for this baby too.

i, selfishly, ask that this child likes me. i’m already so in love with this baby, and would really love if they loved me too.

Amen.