About Me...

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In a nut shell : I'm a wife, a full time working mom, a teacher, a Star Wars geek, comic book nerd, Disney enthusiast, hockey Mom, a decade long breast cancer survivor, and oh let's not forget such a happy, sassy, southern mess!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jumping Off An Emotional Cliff!

I don’t know how your week has gone so far but mine, yes I realize today is just Sunday,no Monday,  has started off rather emotionally charged and a bit off kilter. I for one did not go looking for this mess I seem to have found myself in, yet “it” found me all the same. To be completely honest I knew, deep down, I had my suspicions, but I wanted to dismiss my concerns as silly and frivolous.  I ignored what I saw; turned an ear to such silly chatter when “it” made way into my ears from time to time, and yes I kept my mouth shut mostly because I could explain it away. Now the truth is front and center and I have a choice to make: first take a long, deep breath, second make issue of such silly nonsense or let it all go. So go ahead, imagine me sitting here at 2 AM in the morning, PJ’s on, yawning, hair this way and that, maybe even some let over dried tears on my face with my scale of justice on the table, balancing out what to do next! 

The reality is sometimes we find ourselves at an impasse in our lives, with no real clear direction. Should we stay where we are, move forward, take a step backwards or honestly jump off the cliff in front of us and hope for the best? Surely we will land on our feet or at least find a way to tread water if it ends up too deep right?  The problem is life can get complicated, become out of sorts; turn us inside out leaving our lives a bit unsteady if we really want to be honest. I for one will be the first to raise her hand; maybe even jump up and down to attest to this fact.  To be real as they say, think about it this way: just when you think you have seen or heard it all the grapevine you thought you had dodged back in right field comes up out of left field swinging a bat with your name on it! Before you have a chance to duck, to run for cover or to at least get your glove up in place, the bat you saw out of the corner of your eye has flattened you on the ground leaving you breathless and practically unconscious.

If you ask me what I think about all this, I’d have to tell you its all part of the game we play, how we as human beings treat one another, good, bad or insane, we all sit in judgment sometime or other. Who knows maybe it’s even how the cards are stacked, I don’t know! It probably comes down to whether you are able to please everyone in your life or not. Personally, I wouldn’t advise trying to be everything to everybody all the time, myself. Why, well inevitably you end up the last person to see and to feel the bat swinging a fast pitch directly right into your gut!

I have always been one of those people who have lived her life on her sleeve, out loud, ready to give 110 percent. Now you would think this would this would be a good trait to have right? Well honestly, it’s been both a gift and a curse. The real gifts you will always find, receiving selflessly, are the souls you will meet, the lives which will touch yours, encouraging and inspiring you along the way. The problem with walking around with your heart on your sleeve or even just trying to be brave in a frightening situation is that some will not understand your intentions. They will see you as a threat, someone to be leery of, or sadly someone looking for an angle. Maybe the truth is they cannot face their own fears, their own insecurities but whatever their reasons you become an easy target. The whole curse part of this insanely ridiculous situation is that while you are nonchalantly walking around with your heart on your sleeve, chatting away trying to bravely face the monster sitting in your driveway waiting to jump you the moment you arrive, is that you have to plan ahead for and duck friendly fire trying to get into your own home! This is another reason why I suggest keeping an emotional and spiritual first aid kit on hand at all times friends. The only other  suggestion I have for you is to be sure to add a bit of humor inside  your kit as well because  you never know when laughing at yourself will come in handy believe me!

If I am going to really dig down deep, to share a bigger piece of my own crazy jigsaw puzzle of a life with you I would have to fess up to the fact I really struggle with how I see myself or at least how I did for many years. From the time I was a little girl I have had to face many obstacles, chronic illnesses, and the harsh opinions of adults who could not understand my resolve in the face of such turmoil. I can tell you most people either love me or they can’t stand me. I choose not to use the word hate; though I am sure a few along the way would beg to differ with me, because it’s such a strong word, carrying a weight most do not really care to burden. I honestly believe it’s not so much hate as much as a misconceived understanding and preconceived biased which causes  the infamous “them” to rally the troops in an uprising, followed by pitch forks  and chants to burn you out of your hiding place . I have faced many who would begrudge my family  blessings God has provided, truly shocked anyone would find us worthy, see a hidden strength they cannot, even becoming angry when life seems to turn around, growing more vocal as God’s plans begin coming together .  Once I developed breast cancer, I coined these few my ever loving, always challenging, fully engaged, very vocal cancer bullies. Sadly sometimes these attacks on our character come from people we would never expect it from, as they voice their thoughts, opinions and all out assaults on what they perceive as “wrongs”.

 So how does one deal with this kind of battery? Well what we need to understand is that sometimes these folks get caught up in the woes of life. They cannot see the forest for the trees; to them their view is blocked when ours may be wide open. It’s hard I know when those times arise, as they hold you responsible for turns in life you have had no control over.  I would say many of us, especially those who do wear our hearts on our sleeves or provide them as open books for all to read, have been down this road a time or two in their journey through life.  From my own point on view I believe those few have seen me as an escape goat, I am sure you could say the same in your life as well, if you relate to my set of circumstances that is.  Do I believe these folks mean us ill will deep down? No not really, but they do seem very determined to dig up a few extra pot holes and throw a hurdle, or two or three in our way along the journey all the same. Yes I could show you my scares, my scraped knees or bruised shins from these hazards which have left me in need of roadside assistance often enough but where does that honestly lead us?

Why this has been the course of my life or of yours, I cannot tell you, but the truth is these ups and downs, emotional detours, torn fabrics and rough edges have shaped me, refined me, made me into the woman I am today. Many times I have longed to right a wrong I have thought was done to me or prove myself in another's eyes, but I have finally learned this lesson.  Maybe one the Lord above has been trying to teach me all my life and that is this: my worth and my ability to do something great with my life is not found in what a select few may see in me. No, my life, your life, this open book that we have become, is a work of God and it is His hand which guides us through all the dark corridors, the frayed bridges and yes even over the cliffs! My life is a work in progress, a life continued, one full of promise even if it has been torn open, at times to shreds, battered and scared along the way.

I still question the where and the why’s in my life. I often ask God what His purpose is in all these patches left for me to sew onto this quilt of life He graciously continues to afford me. I even cry myself to sleep some nights worrying I have not done enough, failed someone He has guided into my life. But the truth is this: I am not perfect; I am simply a patch worked quilt, made of His design, forged in the threads of life. I try as I may to be a super woman, to rise above the turbulence, but honestly sometimes we have to fall flat on our faces to appreciate the grace we have been given.

Life is not about arriving in a perfect body or having lived a perfectly played game, no truly I have learned life is about the small, little moments of defeat, of getting back up on your feet and trying again the next day.  Personally having my breast removed,  watching the red devil, a poison true to its name  pump through my veins and still finding a way to pull myself up everyday  strengthened me, taught me  what is worth fighting for and what is not. Cancer showed me what was real and what is honesty fake. If living life with breast cancer has taught me anything it is this: we have today, this very moment to offer ourselves to those we hold close to our hearts, to love them, to provide our hope and our friendship to those our lives touch. “They” may not always accept what we have to offer, they may even talk you down behind your back, but understand this my friend; the giving of yourself, of your life, of your love and of your hope to others ultimately fortifies your own ability to endure whatever obstacles blow through your life, even if those gusts are hurricane strength! This is the bottom line: If you have shown those who hold you to standards above reach your unconditional love then know you have given all you can, no more or less than you can afford to offer. One day, even if you do not see the end result come to fruition with your own eyes, those few who have bullied you will see this unwrapped gift, they will know you loved them with all your heart, and will even make note of this small, wrapped, unopened package long after your journey has taken you into the unknown.

So my dear friends, take heart, do not worry, and do not hide yourself away because you fear you have faltered. We all face defeat, we all fail, and we all rise above to start anew, the real secret is in how we respond to the next pitch, to the next work of art, the unending, constant thread and the continuing design in God’s plan for our lives. The truth, I believe, true to my own life is actually found in how we learn to forgive those we feel have done us a wrong while continuing to find infinite hope in this journey we call life. So tonight, or should I say morning, I surrender myself and my need to race and jump off the emotional cliff in front of me. Life is a journey, not a destination.  I am pretty sure if I put myself to it I can avoid doing a cannon ball into the choppy water below. Besides who needs any extra bumps and bruises from an insane, silly jump and dive over an emotional cliff anyway?

 ~ Christina

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cancer's Consorts

Putting it mildly, life in the BC zone can be very hectic and overwhelming. Is there a perfect route in which you can navigate yourself through the Big C? Not really, honestly there is no correct or incorrect path to really answer this question except to say cancer is a giant zit. You know those large, red puss filled things, sitting on top of your nose, which like to block your view? Sometimes they can just go away on their own, and other times they need a little help being uprooted before you can begin to clean the surface of their foul infection. Cancer is just like a zit, she’s a monster sucking the life right out of you and if left untreated both physically and emotionally she can drain every ounce of life, laughter and sanity from of you.

What is it about cancer and her bullies which make them so ready to destroy you, to take everything away from you once by ounce?Why is it every part of what once was real, certain, and concrete in your life  must be chipped away? Seriously if you wiggle just a little bit one way or the other, offer her an inch, she and her consorts will take the whole ruler! If I sat down I could probably write a book about  these Cancer bullies and their place in our lives. Their function, our responses and in the end how each jab effects our recovery. I have lived with bullies most of my life in one form or another, either they have hated me for the joy in life, despised my ability to look past the pot holes in front of me or simply put have hated me for anything from the way I smile to the way I laugh. The point is this: it’s really nothing to do with you my friends; it’s more to do with the bullies surrounding your life; how they see themselves and how they see you handle your own struggles in spite of how they handle their own path in life.

Let’s face it friends, it’s a crazy mixed up world out there and those of us who are simple and meek in nature always end up on the chopping block. We are targets for those who can’t deal with their own issues, having to deposit them on our doorsteps instead. Yes we try our best to carry both loads, even allowing ourselves physically to fall apart if we must to save those we love instead. The only problem I foresee in this way of handling bullies is the end result: it is time taken away from our own lives not theirs. Still for some us, we continue to try, to over look the hurt, to embrace the pain, to forget about the injury and even to limp beside the very person who caused our limp in the first place just to keep the peace.

Sadly, the truth is there will come a day when your limp will not heal from the constant triads of the beast's consorts and as clearly as the Bible says,” the truth will set you free” you will have to speak your truth if you want to survive the beast and her furious nature. Yes it will be hard, even unbearable, but it must be done if you want to physically survive to see another day. Emotional beating s are just as bad as the real thing because they do not heal, these kind of wounds bruise deep and stay with you, festering long after the first cut.

I understand, because I have walked this path for a very long time indeed, I have felt the dagger to my heart, watched the blood drip from my chest and asked myself how more many times I could take this kind of emotionally murder,  how many lives I had left to forfeit or if I had the strength to endure just one more fine tip to the chest. The problem is we try so hard to balance everything in our lives, even the bullies who have taken over the playground. We make excuses for them, play their behavior off as if it is OK to treat us this way, after all we are strong remember? We are the ones who have been called to this kind of life, or we are the ones who deserve this flogging because we are not living up to the standards thee consorts have listed 1-1000 for us! We should be quite, take the beating, and agree with them because they know what is best for us right?. No, this is just the excuse they hand us while stabbing us in the back. These are the people, the consorts who come to destroy us all in the name of love. These are the ones who want to tell you how to live your life, inform you of your failures, educate you on their view of a Bible you have already read front to cover yourself, all while pushing the blade in a little further into your bloody chest. I can not give you a valid reason my friends for their behavior only that for some reason these few feel you are just not bright enough to figure it out on your own.

My advice: stop and walk away. Do not take on their anger as your own, their humiliation as your undoing as you exit the throne room. These accusations are false, meant to chip your armor away,  to bring you to your knees while they hurdle poisonous arrow heads towards you for an outcome  of a situation you had nothing to do with. I will; tell you this, no matter how much you want to despise them: Love those repulsive consorts anyway, despite their tendency to slit your throat and perform exploratory surgery, take away the sword they carry and be ready to duck the next time they throw their crown at you. You show them you love them by telling them it is not OK to behave like a bully anymore, to consort with the enemy on your behalf. Mark my words you will be hurt, they will cut you deeper than you have even been cut before if they are able to throw just one more dagger your way. Beware my friends: Just because they know you have removed the bulls eye from your forehead doesn't mean they won't continue to try using you for target practice!. The truth is: once you have dethroned the false king, and his consorts, you will no longer walk with a limp anymore; you will be able to heal emotionally which will enable you to heal physically as long as you keep a wide eye open for stray arrows every once in a while.

Friends, I rarely speak this boldly, but sometimes we have to stand up for what’s right. I know I have chatted with many of you who have and are facing this same dilemma. Facing your cancer, her bullies and their arsenal of Dudley never do right's is never easy. Unfortunately you will feel drained and they will try with all their might to take you down, to make you feel ashamed and unsightly in God’s sight. But you must hold fast to your own truth, who you are and where you are going. I implore you to take courage my friends, do not hesitate or second guess yourself. You have given your all, even when you could not give yourself as much. Now it is time to say ENOUGH! Pick up your sword and your shield and find a quiet, shady place to rest until your wounds have healed. Let the Father above breathe new life into your spirit, renew your joy and plant his hope inside your heart. His light will fall soft upon your face, and the darkness Cancer and her consorts have come to overtake you with will disintegrate by His hand not yours!

I personally believe in hope, I always have. I know life is more than just these faltering steps we manage to take while we are living here in an imperfect world. We are not perfect; we are human, made of flesh and blood, the real given truth is we are far from  sinless and perfection. So friends, let it all go, put those who come to destroy your life behind you. Live with your head raised toward the sun; take the beauty of His light inside of your soul, allowing it to renew all cancer's consorts came to strip away from you. Allow your joy, your hope and your faith to put those festering infected consorts to rest.

We all struggle as to when the time is right,  I encourage you to rally your strength. When the last horrible word has been said, when the last dagger has sliced across your face, you will hear His voice whisper in your ears: the time has come, rise up and go forth to undo this tangled mess done in His name. I know in my life I felt it deep down, knew when it was time to stand up. You will too. Maybe today is the day my friends? Has the  struck one too many times, maybe tomorrow is the day for the beast to realize the king of rumors, of false witness and of unrighteous anger hurled in your direction has finally come to an end. Even if the beast's consorts have not realized it, the King has fallen, been dethroned, broken into pieces, scattered back into the darkness from which it came. As for the crown, well it now rests on the forehead of the One true King. Why? Well because the truth has set us free my friend! Neither you nor I are servants of cancer or her consorts anymore! We are free men and woman through all eternity.