From Tracie

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Today I'm Thankful

My grandma is back in the hospital. This time in the ICU. She is dealing with the same breathing/lung and heart issues as before with some serious added complications. There has been talk of surgery and other options, none of which look really great. Katarina and I are flying out there to see her on Thursday. I've been so blessed by the prayers and love that have sustained me as I count down the days until we can get there to see her, and I'm thankful for the amazing people who make up my world.

Lizzi mentioned in her Ten Things Of Thankful post that this week we really need thankfuls. She is so very right. So I'm going to dig deep, and share some of the things for which I am thankful today.

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I shared this on facebook yesterday:
"Taking a personality test. One of the questions is, "You find it difficult to speak loudly - yes or no?" ....and then we all laughed and laughed. 
But I laughed the loudest. Because, obviously."

I'm thankful for that laughter, because laughs have been few and far between this week. But I'm also thankful for one of the responses (which brought back a special memory and also made me laugh):
"Remember when we had a slumber party at my house and we were so loud that my parents set up the camper?! Hahaha"
And in case you are wondering, like Thomas was, if this is a true story? It is. It SO is. I could tell you that our awesomeness was too much to contain in a small bedroom. But, honestly, we were just really, really loud, and I, the loudest of all.

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Thomas stopped at a garage sale while he was at work yesterday, and came home with a Harry Potter shirt. It is actually a Quidditch shirt for the Gryffindor seeker. I'm thankful for a husband who notices little things that will make me happy, and brings them to me.

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I'm thankful for my job with SITS and Sway, where I work with amazing people, and actually look forward to starting work every morning.

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Blue Sky Hope

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On Friday, my friend Sheena shared some great tweets, including some gratefulness statements that really grabbed my heart. Here is one of my favorites:
I'm thankful for wisdom. I'm thankful for the ability to do better. I'm thankful for Sheena reminding me of both of these things on a day I really needed to remember them.

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I'm thankful Enter The Worship Circle is on Spotify.

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I'm thankful Lizzi tags me on twitter each week with a reminder to share my thankful moments. Because I need it. Especially on weeks like this, when it is easy to be wrapped up in fear, anxiety, frustration, hard feelings, and something far too close to grief. All those feelings are real, and many of them are valid, but the thankfuls are real, too.

Right now, for at least as long as it took me to type these, I'm going to focus on the thankful things. My heart needs it. If you have had a hard week, I'm pretty sure your heart might need it, too.

Ten Things of Thankful

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cut The Strings - Change Is Coming

As change happens, strings are cut.

Some of them are as small as dental floss.

Some as thick and large as the ropes that hold the sails of a ship in place.

One by one.

Snip.

Snip.

Snip.

Each change is a cut string.

And you feel yourself move, because those were your strings.

Some of them were cut at your own hands, but most of them are cut when you least expected it, by forces seen and unseen. You try to ignore each snip beyond your control, and do this life thing.

But the tether is gone.

You are lifted off the ground.

Flying off to freedom. Like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, or a bird finally leaving the nest, or Iron Man putting on a new suit. Purposeful. Making decisions. Reaching goals.

blue balloon floating towards the sun

The tether is gone, and you are lifted off the ground.

Floating away uncontrollably. Like a half-inflated balloon, aiming towards heaven, but getting tangled in the power lines. Like a leaf that thinks it will fly, but finds this short flight is really only a fall. Like a plastic bag on the highway. Floating. Almost flying. Getting hit by car after car. Tearing apart. Never quite able to make it to the other side of the road.

The fear firmly in place, you try to tie those ropes and strings back together.

Frantic.

Fingers slipping.

Is a chance at flying enough to risk a fall?

Is there even a choice?

Those strings have been cut.

They will never be strong again, tethering you to what you know.

Change is here.

fallen yellow leaf with shadows and light

Brace yourself for the flight.

Or the fall.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Now Accepting Submissions For The August 2014 Blog Against Child Abuse

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is a monthly event. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse. All forms of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and verbal) are discussed.

Blog Against Child Abuse


The August edition of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse will be hosted at Child Abuse Survivor.

Blog Carnival Theme: Change
I am very excited about the topic, and I can hardly wait to read about your experiences and thoughts on change. You can find out more about the theme in Mike's announcement post.

All of our regular categories will also be open:
-Advocacy and Awareness
-Aftermath
-Healing and Therapy
-In the News
-Poetry
-Survivor Stories
-Art Therapy

The deadline for submissions is August 27th, and the carnival will be posted on the 29th. I'm excited to see what y'all share this month. You can submit something written especially for this edition, but please feel free to submit an older post as well.

To submit a blog post, please fill out this form.


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The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse and to share important posts with others who might not be frequent readers of an author's blog. There are so many wonderful bloggers who are contributing to the cause of ending and recovering from child abuse.

If you, as a reader or author, know of other blogs that you find helpful, please encourage them to submit to an upcoming issue of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse so we can continue to receive high quality submissions from a wide swath of bloggers.

Many thanks to all of you who shared your hearts and stories with us, and to all of you who read the submissions and show your support. You keep this carnival, the awareness, support, and healing going each month.

To provide another way for you to stay in contact with the blog carnival, and make sure you don't miss any updates; you can like the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse Facebook Page.

Thank you for raising your voice and speaking out against child abuse!

Friday, August 08, 2014

The Best Wake Up Call Ever

One thing that can be frustrating about living in a hotel is the constant flow of different neighbors. Some neighbors come and go, and we don't even notice them. But sometimes, the people in adjacent rooms are loud. They turn the tv all the way up, they blare music, they yell, or they make noises that I can only assume are the result of spontaneous 2am clog dancing practices.

Noisy neighbors drive Thomas crazy. Sometimes he will call the office, and say something if the noise gets ridiculous, but they are busy, and that is a lot of trouble. His new thing is to call the noisy neighbor himself, and ask them to please turn down their music/tv/yelling/clog dancing. But sometimes when he makes those calls, he slips out an Indian accent that sounds just like the manager. So he doesn't say, "This is the office calling." He just doesn't say who he is at all, and then he asks them to be quiet.

Over the weekend, Thomas called the people behind us, accent fully in place, to ask them to turn down their music. The man who answer said, "Oh, gosh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize it was so loud. I'll definitely turn it down. And, hey, since I have you here on the phone, I need you to give me a wake up call at 9pm. Thanks!"

Thomas hung up the phone, looked at me, and said, "I have to make a wake up call at 9pm."

"What? Why?"

"The guy clearly thought I was calling from the office. And as I couldn't exactly say I wasn't the office, I didn't argue. But I also don't want him to miss work, or be late for something tonight because the phone never rings, or for him to yell at the girl in the office tonight because no one called. You know, because they didn't know he needed a call."

At this point I laughed. Really hard. And Katarina laughed with me.

We spent the next few hours teasing him about his wake up call...

"Do you want to try a new accent? You could be Australian!"

"Will you sing? Everyone loves a nice wake up song."

"Maybe you should tell him a joke? Start his night out with a laugh."

"Seriously, now, what exactly are you going to say? Do we need to do a practice run? I'll pretend to sleep, and you can call me on the cell phone to wake me up."

For some reason, Thomas didn't seem to enjoy this quite as much as we did.

We enjoyed it a lot.
And I might have even messaged Lizzi to let her in on the fun.

But Thomas was a little stressed by his new wake up call job. He set two alarms so he wouldn't be late. And in between the helpful questions and suggestions Katarina and I were sharing, he kept saying, "You just don't understand. I have to make a wake up call tonight."

Nine o'clock finally arrived, and the alarms rang out the deadline. "What are you going to say?" I asked.

"I don't know, but I have to call him now!"

He picked up the phone, dialed, took a deep breath, and quietly said, "It is nine o'clock."

The neighbor responded, "Thanks!" and Thomas hung up really fast, before he could be asked for any more calls. He achieved wake up call success.

The most important part of the story is this: Thomas said this experience has cured him from ever calling a neighbor in a vaguely Indian accent again. He will always just be very much himself.

But if YOU ever need a wake up call, I'm sure he would be happy to try out any accent you want. After all, he is a wake up call master now.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Help Champions For Kids Feed Children In Your Community With SIMPLE Giving

When The Motherhood approached me to write about SIMPLE Giving, I was excited to be involved, because I know what a difference programs like this can make. I used to be an administrative assistant at a church. It was an interesting job, and I got to do a lot of different fun things, but one of the truly important tasks I had was to help with the food pantry.

Due to the fact we lived on the church property, I was often there when people called or stopped by during off hours looking for help. I stood with many mothers, and heard pieces of their stories as I packed boxes of food. I saw the relief on their faces when they knew there would be food in their houses that week. I saw their kids smile when snack food was slid in the box next to big containers of old fashioned oatmeal.

I felt that relief and gratefulness in my own heart when a friend brought boxes of food to my family, because she knew we were having a hard time. And I've eaten meals that were possible because of the blessing of a food pantry.

Poverty and hunger are real things. They are happening in our country, and in our local communities. But we have the power to help. And our help is sorely needed. In my local community, I know there are food pantries and donation centers that have struggled to keep up the balance of food donations and food needs.

This is where Champions For Kids comes in with their SIMPLE Giving program. August 1-18th, there will be purple donation boxes set up in Wal-Marts across the country to collect nutritious food for the children in your community. In fact, the food that is collected will be given to children in the school district where the Wal-Mart is located.

Champions For Kids Logo

It makes a difference for children to have nutritional food and snacks. To ensure children have access to nutritious snacks, Champions for Kids is teaming up with Dole, Emerald, and Kellogg's Company. You will find some of their nutritious snack and breakfast products near the donation bins, but you are also welcome to donate any kid-friendly items you want to give.

Donate Food To SIMPLE Giving

I love the core values that drive Champions For Kids programs.

They believe all children should have:
Someone who cares
A place to belong
Hope for tomorrow and provisions for their journey.
All children.

That is a list I am proud to support. And principles I want to teach my daughter. She helped us find food that would be great for donating the last time we were at Wal-Mart. Take your kids to the store with you. Let them pick out the food to donate, and use that trip as a conversation starter. You might be surprised at the great ideas your kids can come up with to help families in need.

SIMPLE Giving Infographic

For a list of participating Wal-Marts, visit the SIMPLE Giving website, and while you are there, check out some of their other programs and projects. You will find some great ideas for getting your kids involved in serving your community on the SIMPLE Service page.

*I participated in this program on behalf of Champions for Kids and The Motherhood. All opinions and stories are my own.