Category Archives: LIFE joy

Say Hello

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I stumbled across this blog post about a woman seeing another woman she knew in the grocery store a few weeks after her daughters death.

It was written so honestly and genuinely that I couldn’t help but want to share it.

I feel like SO MANY TIMES we just don’t know the right words to say,

so instead we SAY NOTHING, and that hurts….like really bad.

Because guess what?!

All the other people you know are also feeling that way and SAYING NOTHING, so you are left with grief and sadness and there is NO ONE THERE.

This is the story of saying SOMETHING, even if that is only, ” I don’t know what to say” and acknoledging the person.

Because when it comes down to it, isn’t that what we all want?!

To know that we are seen and wanted!?

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Article Below:

I stood in the produce section of my local grocery store, my hands comparing the weights of cantaloupes. Heavy enough, I thought.

I sniffed its stem, searching for that sweet spot, while my palms rubbed over its rough netted surface. My breath froze when I glanced up across the piles of lemons and avocados to see her handling the tomatoes.

I stared at the cantaloupe. I hoped she hadn’t noticed that I noticed her.

I didn’t know what to say.

She lost her teenaged daughter in a horrific car crash several weeks earlier — five teens died on their way to school.

This mom was forced to give up the gift God had given her seventeen years before.

I felt heavy, as if my feet were rooted to the floor. I placed the cantaloupe in my cart and strained to take a back step towards the broccoli — so my back was to her.

She probably knows I am here.

I was uncomfortable. I fiddled with the Brussel sprouts. Now what do I do? I questioned. Coward, I thought.

When bad things happen, people fear they may say the wrong thing — even when they are trying to be helpful.

I remember the depths of my emotional pain many years earlier when I miscarried my twin girls. God held their tiny bodies in His arms before I did. Even though well-intentioned women whispered, “You’re young enough to have more,” I knew they cared because they arrived by my side, wanting to comfort me. Most often, their comments came with soft eyes, a nestling hug.

What I found worse, though, was when people avoided me, and said nothing at all.

One of my own brothers never called. Months later, he sent me a letter, asking for my forgiveness. One friend dodged me in Kmart. From the corner of my eye, I watched her dart down the automotive aisle. Another woman, pregnant, turned away from me in the church parking lot and began a conversation with someone else.

They could have simply listened for a minute, helped me heal.

Now the jagged edges of discomfort gouged my heart because I’ve been just like the women at Kmart and church, dodging people I didn’t know how to talk to. I’ve neglected to send the card, pick up the phone, pay a visit, or approach them in the store.

I took a deep breath.

Her baggy jeans and oversized flannel hung on her thin frame. Hollow eyes replaced the stubborn jaw I remembered.

I walked up to her, acting surprised to see her. I think she was on to me, but she didn’t draw attention to my cowardice.

I found the courage to say “Hello.” My arms jockeyed my cart so I could get closer to her. I tried to find words that wouldn’t get between us. The words I found were the only ones I knew how to say. “I don’t know what to say. I am sorry.”

We hugged. Eyes welled.

Silence.

Now what do I say? I wondered.

“Therefore encourage one another with these words. {1 Thessalonians 4:18}

In His most subtle of ways, the Lord guided me.

I used her daughter’s name — Tonia. “I’m sorry I never thanked Tonia for her incredible work with the school sports program. She taught my sons so much about life and basketball! They spoke highly of her.”

These simple words brought her face to life.

“Let me tell you a story about Tonia,” I offered. It was a funny story, one she didn’t know — one my sons had shared with me months earlier, when she coached their summer basketball camp.

Her eyes held mine, asking for more — more of her daughter. It was as if she were saying, “Please, keep her alive.”

I listened, and remained alongside her as she shared. I prayed it was healing for her. It was for me. We stood there talking for a long time, as shoppers walked by.

The original article was written by Sharon Gibbs on her blog, (IN)Courage 


Back to School Talk

brave joy in jacksons journey

 

 

I read this article from one of my favorite human beings ever, Glennon Doyle Melton, who is the author of the book, Carry on Warrior and the author of the blog, Momastery. 

She is phenomenal in a thousand different ways and I hope to one day meet her and when I do I will give her the BIGGEST hug, because she inspires me on a daily basis.

So in 2011 she posted this BEA-U-TIFUL article about school and I have read it countless times and tonight while reading Jackson and I came across it and I read it to him.

It was all it took for me to read it to him through tears, and I knew I just had to share it with all of you wonderful people!

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Hey Baby.

Tomorrow is a big day. First grade – wow.

Jackson – When I was in first grade, there was a little boy in my class named Adam.

Adam looked a little different and he wore funny clothes and sometimes he even smelled a little bit. Adam didn’t smile. He hung his head low and he never looked at anyone at all. Adam never did his homework. I don’t think his mom reminded him like yours does. The other kids teased Adam a lot. Whenever they did, his head hung lower and lower and lower. I never teased him, but I never told the other kids to stop, either.

And I never talked to Adam, not once. I never invited him to sit next to me at lunch, or to play with me at recess. Instead, he sat and played by himself. He must have been very lonely.

I still think about Adam every day. I wonder if Adam remembers me? Probably not. I bet if I’d asked him to play, just once, he’d still remember me.

I think that God puts people in our lives as gifts to us.

The children in your class this year, they are some of God’s gifts to you.

So please treat each one like a gift from God. Every single one.

Baby, if you see a child being left out, or hurt, or teased, a little part of your heart will hurt a little.  I want you to trust that heart- ache. Your whole life, we want you to notice and trust your heart-ache. That heart ache is called compassion, and it is God’s signal to you to do something. It is God saying, Jackson! Wake up! One of my babies is hurting! Do something to help! Whenever you feel compassion – be thrilled! It means God is speaking to you, and that is magic. It means He trusts you and needs you.

Sometimes the magic of compassion will make you step into the middle of a bad situation right away.

Compassion might lead you to tell a teaser to stop it and then ask the teased kid to play. You might invite a left-out kid to sit next to you at lunch. You might choose a kid for your team first who usually gets chosen last.

These things will be hard to do, but you can do hard things.

Sometimes you will feel compassion but you won’t step in right away. That’s okay, too. You might choose instead to tell your teacher and then tell us. We are on your team – we are on your whole class’ team. Asking for help for someone who is hurting is not tattling, it is doing the right thing. If someone in your class needs help, please tell me, baby. We will make a plan to help together.

Jackson – I do not care if you are the smartest or fastest or coolest or funniest.

There will be lots of contests at school, and I don’t care if you win a single one of them. I don’t care if you get straight As. I don’t care if the girls think you’re cute or whether you’re picked first or last for kickball at recess. I don’t care if you are your teacher’s favorite or not. I don’t care if you have the best clothes or most Pokemon cards or coolest gadgets.

I don’t send you to school to become the best at anything at all. I already love you as much as I possibly could. You do not have to earn my love or pride and you can’t lose it. That’s done.

I send you to school to practice being brave and kind.

Kind people are brave people. Because brave is not a feeling that you should wait for. It is a decision. It is a decision that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd.

Trust me, baby, it is. It is more important.

Just be grateful and kind and brave. That’s all you ever need to be.

Take care of those classmates of yours, and your teacher, too. You Belong to Each Other. You are one lucky boy . . . with all of these new gifts to unwrap this year.

I love you so much that my heart might explode.

Enjoy and cherish your gifts.

And thank you for being my favorite gift of all time.

Love,
Mama

*the article has been altered to fit our story and only certain paragraphs have been shared.

The original article can be read here.


Gratitude

gratitude joy in jacksons journey

In the big things,
in the small things,
live gratitude.

In the pain,
and in the joy,
live gratitude.

Through laughter,
and through tears,
live gratitude.

It truly is a choice-
It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy.

Take a moment today- live gratitude.
Whisper it in the joy of simple things- the green grass, the blue skies- and hold onto it in midst the hard things, whispers of gratitude will change your life.

I promise. I am living proof.


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