Like Jesus Would.

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I’m up at odd hours now. I sit here in my chair and just admire the beauty of our Christmas tree. It’s old and missing some of its needles. It’s lights are missing in some places but it holds only good memories. All the ornaments are special, either they’re handmade or have a special meaning. Every year we would decorate the tree and then turn out all the lights and my dad would say “look at that. It’s beautiful.” It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect to us. I can’t help but think that’s how God sees us. People have such flawed versions of what beauty is and no matter how much we might wish to change that version, it won’t happen. If you look back at the centuries you’ll notice how versions of beauty have changed. It sounds cliché, but what we look like doesn’t contribute anything but outward adornment and decoration for this world. Your soul and your heart matter. People will claim it’s all in the name of health, but boil it down and it’s because you don’t look like everyone else. My point with this is, this Christmas season examine your heart. Your motives behind what you say. Be a little kinder, judge a little less. Love people like Jesus would; just because their people.

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Giving Thanks.

In a season where it’s hard to be thankful, I really try to find something to be thankful for. Because if I’m honest cancer life sucks. It’s a forever waiting, hoping, wishing thing. There is a reason they call cancer a beast. It takes on its own life form. Its the waiting, it’s keeping you from normalcy, it’s how people leave you out of things. Read this blog, it really explains things so much better than I could. I’m forgetful these days, it’s hard to hold a conversation now; but my point is that even with this really crappy thing I find myself more thankful than ever.

I’m thankful for Gods grace and mercy. His provisions for Mom and I. His ever present voice saying Courage, dear heart.

I’m thankful for my mom. She is just the best person I know and my best friend. She’s my constant companion and her faith in me is never wavering.

I’m thankful for my cancer. I don’t know why, but I feel thankful for what it’s teaching me.

I’m thankful for my family. I spent the afternoon with them and despite our issues there is a loyalty and love that is never wavering.

I’m thankful for my dad and his spirit lives on in so many things.

I’m thankful for this life and another day to live. Tomorrow isn’t promised.

This break from life has been nice. Mom and I re-vamped our porch and spent time together that didn’t involve dr appointments. I’m thankful for our little house, it’s not much but it’s home.

Life will get hard again and it’ll be hard to remember all this but in the end it’s important to tuck it away and have it.

Your prayers and support are very appreciated and something I’m very thankful for. Keep them coming.

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A day forever ingrained.

“The world will turn and we’ll grow. We’ll learn how to be, to be incomplete…”

It’s been 3 years today since you left us. I think that day will forever be ingrained in my mind. I felt my heart break that morning. I miss you, dad. We miss you. The world isn’t the same without you, it feels as if it’s missing a vital part. I miss you all the time but the dance of grief is becoming a familiar companion. Some days I cry because I wish for one more of your hugs and other days I smile knowing you’re always walking with me. I’m a better person because I had you as an example of what a good person should be. There is not a day that goes by that there isn’t a memory or funny story of you come up. You are still such a integral part of our life. We’re learning how to live without you. Some days it’s harder, others it’s a bit easier. I can’t help but think you’re missing some of the most important parts of my life and I can’t help but think that is so unfair. I need your guidance, dad. Life is so hard and constantly changing. I think about all the trials and changes you endured. You had this outlook on life that I hope to have a 1/3 of. Despite dealing with my health, we’re in a good place now. Days are not always a struggle. Smiles and laughter come easier. We put one foot in front of the other and carry on, despite the days we don’t want to. I hope I make you proud. The world still spins madly on and we carry you in our hearts, while we learn that we’ll always be incomplete.

I love you, dad.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. -Matthew 5:4

 

 

 

As you are.

I fallen off the tracks. I’ve forgotten how to see myself. I’ve let other dictate how I should look or feel. It’s been a roller coaster of ups and downs the past 6 months. I thought I found my new normal, living life without my dad here. Missing him but moving forward. Then as quick as the new normal came, it all shattered with news of a diagnosis. It seemed as if my life fell apart in that instant, all over again. Many things happened all at once and continued to pop up over the course of time. I suddenly didn’t have the job I loved, I couldn’t workout because of the pain, I lost new connections that had been made, I turned to food because it was a comforting old friend, I gained back all the weight I lost. I turned back into the ugly ducking. I am back a square one. I started avoiding mirrors because I didn’t like how I looked. I want the approval of men because they are where I held my value. I stopped going to church because it was too hard to worship a God who let bad things happen and takes away your dad. This has been my normal for the last 6 months. I pride myself on being authentic and open, on being my own person. Yet, I’ve lost sight of what that really is. I’ve looked to men for approval on how I look. I’ve been ashamed of myself when I go out the door. I put my value in how many miles I walked or the amount of calories I consumed. I let my crushing fear of not being good enough ruin precious time. My value isn’t in a person, a number, or any material thing. My value doesn’t decrease because of a person who doesn’t have my body positive views or feels that they or anyone else needs to look a certain way. My value is in the one who died for me on a cross. I am who God says I am and He says I’ve more precious than rubies. He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made, handcrafted and the mold shattered after I was created. It’s so hard to live in a word where if you don’t fit in you’re automatically cast aside or counted out. It’s hard being an advocate for a movement you believe in when you hold value in how you appear to others. I lost sight of what the body positive movement is. It’s not about working out or being conventionally beautiful. It’s about loving yourself exactly how you are, where you are and extending that grace to everyone. God doesn’t care what size your pants are. He care about how big your heart is and how you’re living this precious life He gives you. I’m not saying I’ll never worry about how I look. I’d like to eat better and see if I could do some light cardio but if my body isn’t ready for that, my value doesn’t decrease because of it. I recently read this quote,

“Was who she was, who she really was, really enough?… This is perhaps the greatest risk any of us will ever take: to be seen as we truly are.”

But the thing is, that you are enough. I am enough. Exactly as we are right now. It’s a risk worth taking because it is the most freeing thing in the world to know you need only be who you are.

I’ll leave you with this Litany that has become the prayer if my heart:

From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of comfort and ease, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being criticized, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being passed over, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being lonely, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being hurt, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering, deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours.
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, strengthen me with your Spirit.
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, teach me your ways.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
help me put my self-importance aside
to learn the kind of cooperation with others
that makes possible the presence of your Abba’s household. Amen.

Adapted from a prayer by Rafael,
Cardinal Merry Del Val, 1865–1930

 

Talk.

I get this hollow in my chest when I think about you, then it hits me that you’re not here anymore. I miss you so much that it reverberates throughout my whole body and leaves me breathless. Life is crazy and changing and I wish I could talk to you. I wish I could ask you what I should do and how I should handle all these changes. I miss your presence. The whole earth lost the best man I have ever had the pleasure of meeting when we lost you. I feel like I’m moving forward and yet I’m still stuck at the same time. Life is exciting for the first time in my life and you’re not here for me to share it with. I wonder if you could see the talent everyone says I have? You always encouraged me to do whatever I wanted to do and never settle for second best. I can’t believe I took our time for granted. I want to talk with you about guys and why they’re all stupid and can’t man up. I want to talk to you about my future and where I’m heading. I wanna talk to you about how I have this thirst for life that I’ve never had before. I want to be who God wants me to be and I have this unearthly feeling that He is calling me for something big and that, in itself scares me to death but gives me this insane high at the same time. I want to talk to you about my writing and have you read my words and hear your encouragement. I’m having this insane case of writers block right now and I wanna talk to you about it. You might not have got it but you understood this fierce love of your passion and the aggravation that came along with it. I would tell you that I don’t think I’m a very good writer and certainly not as talented as some others but you would have told me that I was just as good as someone else, that my talents were no less valuable because they were different that the world is big enough for all of us. You would say that God has something in store for me that would fit just me and to wait patiently for it. My god, I miss you so much. I don’t know how to do life without you.

He came with love.

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As I sit here in the early morning hours of Christmas day, I meditate on this day so many years ago; Thinking of Mary a young girl, in labor while in a stable filled with farm animals and their filth (no offense to you four legged guys) preparing to give birth to The Savior of the world, but to her it was her baby boy and Joseph, a mere human blessed with the task to lead a girl whom was carrying a child that wasn’t his and to father a child that world one day save him as well.

A song that is currently on repeat (you can listen to it here) “He came with love” by Memphis May Fire, describes it so simply, He came with love. God sent his only Son to give us deliverance from our sin. Wow. I’m not a mother but I am an aunt and they say that only an aunt can love like a mother, it’s hard for me to fathom the sacrifice that God gave of His divine Son and Mary gave of her human baby boy. That’s the ultimate love right there…

Christmas is hard without my dad but doubly as hard this year because of moving from the only home I’ve ever known. I cried earlier, as I seem to be doing a lot lately, but I read a piece of scripture that is so very popular around this time and is synonymous with the Christmas season. It reads,

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet; The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel- which means God with us” Matthew 1:22-23

God with us.

I have read and heard this countless times but it never took on the meaning it did tonight. Even though I am missing my earthly father, I have my Heavenly father who promises to be with me. In those time like tonight, when everyone is jolly and cheerful and I’m not. He’s there. He’s in those hard, dark places and He came with love to save me and you.

Whatever the form may be, He turns all darkness to light.

Man, it’s really hard to sit and wallowing in the grief and sadness that the holidays bring when I think about the true meaning of this season.

Merry Christmas,

Sam

To mama,

momI love you more than you can possibly know. You are the best mom anyone could ask for, you let me be me and find myself in this crazy world and when it hurts my heart you are there to lend an ear and a shoulder to cry on. I’m so much like you, I’m always kinder than necessary, I wear my heart on my sleeve, I’m fiercely independent, I love to read, I love to travel by myself and explore new places but I always love to come home. I’m a lot like my dad too, I have a heart bigger than my who body, I have one hell of a temper, I’m fiercely loyal, I care more than I should, I’m constantly thinking, I love to tinker and can fix anything, I’m not great at sharing my feelings. I miss him, I know you do too. It’s hard here without him. I wonder sometimes, too, why it was his time to go. He’s forever in our hearts and never far from our minds. He made the world a better place and was one of a kind. You know what we were talking about tonight? The one thing I didn’t tell you is I hope he is playing a part in picking him out. You know what’s going on in our lives now and you know how incredibly hard it is, but one thing I know that you don’t, is how incredibly strong you are. You are who I want to be when I grow up. We can do this, despite the days that tell us we can’t. Thank you for being you and showing me how to be. Thank you for letting me explore and travel and do and just be. It means more than anything.

I love you, forever and always.