Prayers and Blessings

This last Saturday was extremely stressful. My daughter-in-law called me from work crying. She thought she had miscarried the twins! I was about an hour away and she asked me if I would meet her at the hospital. I asked a friend to pray with me and although I knew a miracle was possible, I also remembered the terrible pain of my miscarriages – all three of them! I cried and prayed during the whole drive. At the hospital, the doctor tried to do a pelvic, but it was too painful for my daughter-in-law. The doctor stated that as much blood as she lost, it was entirely possible she lost the twins, but in order to be sure, they were to do a sonogram. It took a long time for them to come and get her, and we tried to remain positive while we waited. Finally, they took her down for the sonogram, and after what seemed like hours (really only about 45 minutes), she returned with a smile. She said, “I’m still pregnant – with twins!” We were ecstatic! I knew right then and there that God had answered our prayers. Even though the doctors have stated that she has placenta previa and it will be a very high-risk pregnancy, I know that those babies were given to her and my son for a reason. They are God’s little blessings and I am so looking forward to seeing those beautiful bundles of joy!

Posted in childhood | 2 Comments

From Chrysalis to Butterfly

I am once again facing some major changes at work. Many of you know that I work in a charter school which houses PK-12. Next year we will have new principals (yes, 4 of them), new schedules, many new teachers (some leaving on their own, others were not asked back), restructuring of the program I teach and rumors of the program disappearing altogether, and the middle/high school part (where I teach) may be moving into a new building mid-year. I have always had a problem with change. I am a creature of habit and change, at times, has left me paralyzed with fear. I embrace change in my classroom, but in other areas, I like status quo.

In April 2013, I wrote an essay for the Changes in Life newsletter/blog ( I am reposting it here, as a reminder to myself that although major changes are scary, I have the strength to get through it. God is my strength.


From Chrysalis to Butterfly

Change. It’s what keeps us moving forward. Without it we cease to grow, becoming stagnant and afraid. Some people find it a chance to renew or redefine their lives. They find the act of transformation to be exhilarating, even a little scary. Most of my life was spent being afraid of that one little word. It paralyzed me and caused me to doubt myself.
When I was seven, my mother said “There’s going to be a change in our family.” What she meant was divorce- and in less than a month later, her remarriage. I mourned the loss of my dad, and the new step-father was cruel. These two events were the first of many unhappy changes thrust upon me in childhood. I began to see change as something disturbing and always bad.

Being afraid of change is what kept me bound in a sixteen year abusive marriage. I wasn’t allowed to work. Isolated, I spent all day caring for my children and walking on eggshells around my husband. I knew I didn’t deserve the emotional and physical abuse, yet I feared more the unknown rather than the known. Where would I go? How would I care for my children? Did I have what it took to be successful on my own?

I’m not sure how or why, but I woke up one day and decided that the “big, bad world” couldn’t be worse than the hell I was already enduring. Suddenly, I knew what my mother must have felt. I fled with my children, filed for divorce, found a job and muddled my way through. It wasn’t easy. Over the next two years, I underwent my own transformation. I would like to say the change was immediate and wonderful, but the reality is, it was slow and sometimes painful. With the help of a friend, I began to see who I was and what made me tick. I was no longer told what to wear, what to watch on television, what to read, or where to go. I was free to make my own decisions. It was liberating. My only limitations were those I placed upon myself.

Now I appreciate how change can be a positive, motivating and redefining force. It brought new friends, new opportunities, and new hope into my life. I remarried and with my husband’s encouragement, went to college and became a teacher. I renewed my interest in writing, and although change still scares me, I don’t let it cripple me. I see it for what it is- a chance to make me a better person. I’m no longer hiding in my chrysalis- I’ve broken free and now spread my wings as a beautiful butterfly. The real me has finally emerged.

Posted in Life | Tagged | 1 Comment

Are You Aging Gracefully?

What does aging gracefully mean? For some, it means trying to defy the aging process. Many spend thousands or tens of thousand on creams, lotions, or surgeries trying to preserve their youthful looks, yet neglect to care for their inner self. We should try to take care of our bodies, but time marches forward and it is inevitable that we age. To me, aging gracefully means something different. It means learning to love and accept who you are in spite of what the world sees. When you allow God into your life, He changes you from the inside out. That is where the true beauty lies. I am a far better person today than when I was young and foolish. I accept God’s purpose for my life, and although I would love to have fewer wrinkles, and less weight, I know that those are not the things that I will be judged on. With God’s grace we can all age gracefully.

The Image Reflected in My Mirror

I hate the image that is reflected in my mirror.
The image of crow’s feet, gray hair, and deeply etched wrinkles.
The image of a body with too much weight on its frame.
It is the image of someone old.

I love the image that is reflected in my mirror.
The image of a woman who, in spite of hardships, chooses to be happy.
The wrinkles in her face show wisdom that only comes with age.
The gray hair that tells of each night she stayed up worrying about her children.
The soft, doughy body that the grandchildren love to snuggle and cuddle up with.
The image of a woman who has been through very tough times,
and was seen through it by God’s grace and mercy!

– by Renita Collier

Posted in Life | Tagged | 1 Comment

Appreciating the Darkness

I was in the car with my teenage daughter the other morning on the way to school. It is normally a 25-30 minute drive, but this particular morning it seemed much longer. She was moody and we got into a disagreement, so she wasn’t speaking to me. I turned on the radio and began singing along to a song that was playing. “Wake me up when it’s all over; when I’m wiser and I’m older…” I found myself silently thinking, “Yeah, if I could just wake up and the teenage years would be over.” 

Suddenly it dawned on me how many times in my life I had wished I could just “sleep through” all of the many crises in my life. The pain of my parents’ troubled marriage and divorce, the physical and emotional abuse I suffered in my first marriage, and the anguish of dealing with a mentally ill child, are only a few things I would have loved to have missed. The idea of having someone wake me up when it was over would have been comforting. 

Yet, if I had slept through all of the trials and tribulations, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I would be older, but not necessarily wiser. It is through all of life’s troubles and pain that we gain wisdom and are sculpted into the human beings we have become. Without all of the heartache, would I be as compassionate? Would I be able to empathize with others if all I knew were good times? Moreover, how would I know what happiness is without the ability to compare it to sadness and pain? There can be no light without darkness.  I am in a happy place now and I know this because of the agony, sadness, and despair I’ve experienced in my life. Do I enjoy going through the hardships? No, but I’ve come to appreciate the fact that I am stronger than I ever thought possible and I will come out on the other side victorious. 

Posted in Life | Leave a comment

Friday the 13th – What bad luck did you encounter?

My morning started off as usual. My thirteen-year-old daughter whined and complained about being sooooo bored! When given a list of things she could do, she found a problem with all of them. No surprise there! Got a little housework done before said daughter storms into the room. “I told you today would be bad! I just fell off my bike and I cut my finger!” When she is in “those moods”, I humor her as much as possible, all the while telling her and myself, that there is no such things as bad luck.

Little did I know that in just a few short hours, I would begin to doubt my own advice. I received a call from a phone number I didn’t recognize and the voice on the other end sounding oddly familiar was shouting, “I just got my car stolen!” After a few seconds, it registered that it was my husband and he was in pursuit along with a Good Samaritan that witnessed the auto theft! They chased for several miles before losing the guy. In the car was $5000 + worth of HVAC tools, his company checkbook, his cell phone and a few other non-important items.

I went to where Mr. Good Samaritan had left him waiting for Dallas police. After waiting a while for an officer and giving all of the details repeatedly (do they really need you to repeat everything a dozen times?), we were finally allowed to go home. Upon returning home, I spend the next two hours calling the car insurance company, the homeowners (car insurance won’t cover the tools and other contents in the car), the phone company, and the bank. By the time I was through, I needed a drink!

My husband is unable to work (no tools) on any AC calls in a very hot Dallas, TX summer! So I will be spending the next couple of days praying that the homeowners insurance covers the tools and we can replace them, or I will have to pull out the trusty ole’ Discover card and go into debt. 😦

How was your Friday the 13th?

Posted in Life | 4 Comments

Childhood Memories: One Child’s View

It’s funny how events that happen in our young lives can shape the rest of our life by coloring our views and opinions. Time and space are distorted.  To a seven year old, fifteen minutes may seem like an hour, and a home or room that our child’s eye sees as enormous, when visited years later, proves to be very small indeed.

I was born in 1961. Single parent families were more of the exception than the rule. Parents stayed together, even if only for the “sake of the children.” Not so in my home. My parents fought all the time and finally when I was seven, they divorced. By then there were four children. I was the eldest.  My two sisters were six and five, and my brother was two. What happened after the divorce affected my life more than what happened before it.

Sisters share a bond and although we lived in the same home for those first few years, we each remember some events that the other two do not, or we remember the same event, but with very different details and endings. Being the oldest, you would expect my memories to be stronger and more vivid, yet just the opposite is true. For me, I dealt with the trauma by having “gaps” in my life. There are whole months and events that I have no recollection of at all. One such event is my mom’s pregnancy and subsequent birth of my first half-sister when I was eight.

Until two years ago, I thought I had come to terms with my confusing past. I knew that there would always be “missing moments”, and I accepted that. The memories I had were strong and although mostly unhappy, those memories were true. The pain and anguish I had dealt with were very real. But with my dad’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, came another bewildering blow. In an attempt to ease his own conscious before his death, came apologies and “truths” I had not known before. What I had believed to be true all these years, were only twisted distortions of that reality. Dad left this Earth having been unburdened, but left nagging unanswered questions for me.

This blog is an attempt to piece together my past. I hope to discover the reasons I invented my own reality as a way to deal with the pain I felt at the time.  Many mistakes that I have made as an adult stem from the hurt and anger from my childhood. The blogs will be bits and pieces of my life as I sort through them and seek healing.

Posted in childhood | 2 Comments