I just couldn’t…

I missed my blog post Tuesday yesterday. I don’t get paid for this or have an editor to report to, it’s a self imposed timeline. I just couldn’t. Some things happened in the last week or so that were a bit triggering for me and I needed to take some time. It didn’t feel authentic to write about the beautiful fall weather when I was feeling down. I still don’t feel like Mary Sunshine but I’m taking steps forward and that’s a good thing.

I took a walk at lunch down to the dam. Breathing in the crisp fall air, hearing the leaves crunch below me, the squirrels gathering nuts for winter and the soothing sound of the water trickling down the rocks was just what I needed. It was part of what I needed. I also needed to be open/honest, but how much do I share? It didn’t seem right to spill everything out to anyone when I haven’t expressed things to my friends, family, co-workers etc.

In the past year, I can’t tell you how many times I have felt like a failure. It’s a lot. Of course I wouldn’t call anyone else a failure for similar things, but this is how my mind works. Messy house = I fail at keeping it tidy. Extra weight = I fail at eating healthy. Anxiety = I fail at doing the things that keep me balanced. Too much debt = I fail at managing money. Son struggling with money management = I didn’t model it well or work with him enough. Depression = I have too much to be thankful for to be depressed. Communication issues = I’m a bad wife/mother. Stack of unsold books = I fail at promoting myself. Cat sickness = I fail at being a good cat mom.

Unfortunately this list could go on. You get the idea. Our church is starting a worship series about the perfect family. Spoiler alert – there isn’t one. We all have issues, history, skeletons in the closet, you name it. The picture perfect “social media worthy” photos don’t tell the whole story. Sometimes we reach out and don’t find the help we thought we’d find. Sometimes we reach out to someone else who seems to struggle, but they don’t want our help. It can be so hard, yet we don’t talk about it. We don’t allow ourselves a bad day.

Then, on my way back home, I spotted a penny. I always pick them up, smile and say “thank you.” It’s usually a message to remind me that I’m not alone. The year often means something also… the year on this one? The year my husband graduated high school. Yep, I’m not alone. Neither are you. Sure, life can feel lonely at times, but we aren’t alone. Someone cares for you. If it doesn’t feel like it right now, reach out. You might be surprised in a good way. Perhaps your circle needs to change if those people aren’t supporting you in good times and tough times. Everyone experiences ebbs and flows.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. If you feel like you “just can’t,” reach out… get support…allow yourself to pause.

Letting go…

There is a saying, “Autumn leaves show us how beautiful it is to let things go.” This past weekend, we took a spontaneous trip to Itasca State Park. Last minute fishing trip for my husband and oldest son meant a chance for me and the youngest son to explore the state park. We’ve been there before, but usually in the summer. Fall in MN is just magical. The trees are brilliant yellows, oranges, reds and browns. We met up with some friends and hiked the trails through the woods where bikes aren’t allowed. It was a perfect, crisp fall day. The sun was shining, the leaves were beautiful and the fallen leaves were crunching beneath our feet. It smelled like fall. If fall has a smell, that was it – crisp air, fallen leaves, slight breeze.

The kids (my son and my friend’s two girls) complained a little about the length of the hike. Some photo stops, finding walking sticks and the many leaf colors distracted them a bit from the amount of miles we were walking. My friend and I just breathed in deeply… soaking it in. “They need this,” we both agreed. Spending hours online for school, they needed the connection with nature. We did too. To be grounded with the earth, breathing in fresh air, soaking up the silence…. all just good for our souls.

If there was a place that was fall year round, I’d move there. But it’s part of the cycle… letting go (fall), being still (winter), regrowth (spring) and abundance (summer). One of the benefits of living here is our distinct season changes. It’s one of the reasons I put up with winter.

What are you letting go of this fall? Fear? Anger? Frustration? Busyness? Self doubt? We get so wrapped up in being busy, we forget the value of being still and connecting with nature. I hope you are able to be outside, breathe fresh air and soak up some sunshine before our days turn colder and shorter. Peace be with you on your journey of enough.

The right words…

Fall is a time of loss. Trees lose their leaves, the grass stops growing in the upper Midwest and we lose daylight hours. As the mornings turn crisp and frosty, the evenings get dark more quickly, and before we know it, the sun will be going down at 4:30.

This fall has been a time of loss and remembrance for many people also… an anniversary of loss for a friend’s son & nephew, a cousin’s husband, a friend’s stillborn baby, my mother-in-law and many others. Birthdays and anniversaries come and go. A friend recently lost her best friend, leaving behind a husband and two kids. I struggle to find the right words. I’m a “fixer”… I like to make things better. I’m not able to fix the holes in their hearts. I am fortunate enough to have both living parents, spouse, children, siblings and friends. The right thing to say to me might not be comforting to them. Eloquent sentences in my head turn into just “I’m sorry for your loss.” This isn’t like the trees shedding their leaves for the winter. Their person isn’t returning.

I feel a sense of aching for them. I think about all of the “what if’s” and “should have been’s”… wishing I could change the story. It’s not my place and I don’t have the power. I believe we will see our loved ones again, but it doesn’t make it easier when we wish we could hug them or talk to them one more time.

Psalm 23 is a comforting verse to me:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for the sake of His name. 4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,a I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

A friend who I met at a survivor retreat found out she had weeks to live. Over the last month, friends and family from all over have come to visit. What an awesome and amazing outpouring of love. She has outlived their timeline and has had some wonderful company. They aren’t waiting for her funeral or death, they are celebrating every day she is alive. Wow.

I may not have the right words, but I will reach out anyway. I wish you peace on your journey of enough. If you are going through a season of loss and remembering, hold on. I wish I could find the perfect thing to say to comfort you. Just know that you are enough. Your grief journey is uniquely yours. You cannot do it wrong. Honor those you’ve lost, live your life, find peace and joy again.