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!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Life Lesson #133 ~ Like A Tree Planted By the Water

"Don't be troubled because of the mountain tops you have yet to touch. Like a tree, you will grow, not from the sky, but from the ground up."  ~ Morgan Harper Nichols

As a little girl I knew I was different. It wasn't that I was prettier, smarter, talented  or more important than anyone else because the truth is I wasn't. I was pretty ordinary is what I was. And I was pretty much a hot mess too.  I struggled with math, self- confidence and my reflection in the mirror. I never saw myself as anything but less than ordinary. I was different but only because I didn't follow the stereotypes of the time. I swam upstream rather than downstream. I laughed too hard, sneezed too dainty and imagined a little too big for most people I knew. I was a nerd, a comic book geek and a type 1 diabetic. Life for  me was anything but normal and I stood out only because I was an oddball.

From the time I can remember I have fought back, pushing life as hard as it pushed me. Much like Edward Munch, "Without fear and illness, I could never have accomplished all I have." Because I was different, odd in so many ways, suffering illness from an early age, I learned to plant my roots deep becoming unwavering in my pursuit of happiness. Some may say I was dealt a bad hand, others would say I was given a royal flush. I guess the reality is I have enjoyed both. Growing up with a chronic illness shaped me, molded me, changed me in many ways and not for the worse. Sure I could complain, and grumble about how hard my life was. I could whine and groan about all the injections, hospitalizations and living life without sweets and treats. I mean what is Halloween without candy right? I'll tell you what it is...it's the perfect night for a Wonder Woman in training to pull on her boots, adjust her tiara and ready her lasso of truth. See it's all about perspective. I could have become angry, bitter, cynical allowing those things to control me. They could have certainly dominated my view of life, and it could have rotted me from the inside out. But it didn't. Instead I chose to embrace the difficulties I faced and allowed them to push my roots deeper into the riverbank. My struggles changed me in ways I could never have imagined, strengthening me and filling me with courage and boldness. As Douglas Adams once said, "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I've ended up where I needed to be."

It's true struggle seems to have become my middle name, and for the most part, part of my fabric. And breast cancer, well it couldn't have knocked my footing out from under me any harder than the moment the C word got real. TNBC had her name written all over my breasts, getting extremely intimate and up close and personal. I was absolutely scared, and not just for myself but for my children, my husband and my parents. losing a breast was terrifying, but losing my character, my fortitude, spirit and integrity was worse. I had no idea how to process not just the idea but the reality of breast cancer. Again, I was faced with the choice, I could become resentful and pack up my joy and happiness allowing hostility to shape me, or I could choose to grow. Even better than that, I could grow upwards, from the ground up in ways and in places no one thought I ever could. See, growing up as an oddball and an only child with a chronic illness I found my stride early. I learned to lean on my Father and not my own understanding. I learned it was OK to question God, to ask why and then to trust Him to work everything out. By the time I reached my 40's I realized something pretty amazing, I was happy being the oddball. This is the thing, once I realized the only opinion that matters is God's, I was set free to flourish, to thrive even as the oddball I am. So many of us are consumed by our fear we stop living as free men and women. Sye Wells hits it right on the nail, "I used to spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that my life had no direction. Other people's lives, problems and wants set the course for my life. Once I realized it was okay for me to think about and identify what I wanted, remarkable things began to take place in my life." Being a nerd, a geek, a breast cancer survivor, an only child with a chronic illness or even a hot mess isn't so bad actually. I'm OK with being different, because being odd is who I am and part of this fabric that makes me, well me.

Simply we must,"Be like a tree staying grounded, connecting with our roots, turning over new leaves, bending before we break and enjoying our unique natural beauty as we keep growing." And now all this talk of trees and water well it brings us to Life Lesson #133 ~ Like A Tree Planted By the Water. With more clarity than ever before I see, and I understand like a tree we grow, not by chance. No, we sprout and flourish by God's design. Yes, this is exactly how my life has grown and bloomed, and multiplied and all by being planted by the water. I know right, how awesome it is to be loved so much by a God so big He cultivates and tends to our lives each and everyday? He doesn't care if our trunks are straight or our branches twisted and gnarled. He cares only for our well-being, even if we can't yet understand His design.  And this is why I love how the Bible talks about trees and water and growth. See I grew up hearing this verse over and over and you know what, it stuck like glue. And today this verse still continues to remind me of God's purpose and plans for my life. Psalms 1:3 says this, "You are like a tree, planted by flowing, cool streams of water that never run dry. Your fruit ripens in its time; your leaves never fade or curl in the summer sun. No matter what you do, you prosper." And this is the truth of my life. I may not be a beauty queen or a scholar. I may not have money tucked away in banks all over the world, but I am wealthy with unspeakable riches. I have a family and life full of joy, happiness and love beyond measure. I may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I am poured from a brimming  kettle filled from the river of life. I may not be Mrs. America however I do posess a unique, if not rare God given beauty and wit of my own peculiar, offbeat and kooky nature.

So what have I learned in the years since I was a little girl, different and quirky? Well to be exact after all these years I have come to understand that,"Maybe it's not supposed to be easy for you. Maybe you're one of the rare few who can handle tough times and still choose to be a loving person. Maybe it's going  how it's going because you're built for it. Don't stress a thing. It's going to work out because you're not going to stop putting the work into it."  ~  Rob Hill Sr.


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