Posted in family, Friends, healing, Life Lessons

I Am Created. I Am Chosen.

“I chose you before I formed you in the womb;
I set you apart before you were born.”
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:13

You may not think about being in your mother’s womb, but I do. I have thought about the chaos that must have surrounded my mom as her then husband, my bio-dad, left for parts unknown while she prepared her life for me 44 years ago. I don’t usually speak out about this, because my mom is quiet about it; but my mother really is a beautiful example of what it’s like to be committed to loving someone (as she has done with me all my life). Her beauty lies in her quiet strength. I felt this same quiet strength as I prepared my life for having my son without a father present – 11 years ago. I believe God resides closely in single pregnant mothers.

Think about this for a moment: think about what it was like for your mother when she was pregnant with you. For some of you I know this may be a hard task I’m asking of you. For some of you I know for sure your mother was addicted, or she’d been violated and you were the beautiful result of a violent act. For some of you it’s a pleasant thought – your mom and dad loved you and were preparing a nursery for you. For some of you it’s hard because you cannot have a child. For some of you it’s very difficult to think about because your mother isn’t with you daily anymore, and no amount of knowing you’ll see her again in heaven helps the ache in your heart.
I know. I see you.

Whatever your circumstance, here’s what I know about every single one of us – God created us. He created us uniquely, undeniably in his image.

Until just a few weeks ago, I looked on this time in my life – the time I was in the womb – with discomfort and spite. The most consistent negative thought I’ve had throughout my life is: I wish I had never been born.

This thought has woven a theme through my relationships, my friendships, and even my own heart. I thought: They probably wish I had never been born.

I never wanted to die, I just never thought I was good enough to live. So I haven’t. Not really. But something happened recently that changed all of that.

I went to see my bio-dad after 44 years – and he couldn’t wait to see me. He was waiting for me with his eyes fixed on the road hoping I’d hurry up and arrive. He wanted to see me after all. And over a dinner conversation I came to realize that it wasn’t that I wasn’t wanted, it was that he didn’t have the capacity to raise me at that point in his life. He didn’t protect me or my mom or my brother. For whatever reason, he just didn’t. And it was not my fault. As I thought back on my life on my 7-hour drive home, God began dismantling that stronghold – that recurring thought pattern – and all of the sudden I am so very glad that I have life.

I had a conversation tonight with someone who I’ve chosen not to keep walking with. She said some hurtful things, but she said something that at first hurt my heart, then helped me realize how big of a lie it is and how this has been the enemy’s refrain over my life for too long. She said, “Why would you choose him anyway, knowing that he will never choose you.”
She was talking about a mutual friend, but I realized in this moment that I have accepted this as truth over and over and over. About men. About friends. About so many things. I have swallowed the lie that no matter how much I choose someone, they will never choose me back, because I am not worthy of being chosen.
This is a bold lie.
I am chosen. I am worthy of being chosen.

See, not only did God form me – uniquely, precisely, exactly Melissa – he chose me. He set me apart for this life before I was born. He chose the Dad who would adopt me. I heard today from my friend The Donna Miller that when you’re a natural born child with parents who signed your birth certificate, you can be disowned, but when you’re adopted, you cannot. I am adopted. Permanently. I have a Daddy who loved me enough to adopt me. And it wasn’t just that he had married my mom when I was 5. He married her, then he chose to adopt me. This was two separate decisions/transactions. I haven’t ever really let this fact in to my heart. My mind, maybe, but my heart had to shut everyone and everything out when I was young to protect itself. I had to protect my own heart because one of the main people who should have protected my heart – didn’t.

I got home tonight to a letter in the mail from a friend who said she’s missed my posts on Facebook while I’ve been mostly gone from social media this month. Her card had a picture in it that says, “Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created. (Esther 4:14)” This is exactly what God’s refrain over my life is these days.

I got another card in the mail from my pastor and his wife – who wanted me to know that they noticed and appreciated my ministry at church last week. I got a text this week from another friend who just wanted me to know she’d missed my posts as well. This has happened a number of times over the last 37 days.

From the meeting with my bio-dad to the cards and letters and texts, God is teaching me who I am and what I’m called to do. He chose me – for this family, for this online ministry, for mentoring women, for this moment, for this generation, with these skills as a writer, and mother, and poet.

Truth is – I’m exactly who God has made me to be, in the exact place he knew I’d be right now, and he is in the middle of my heartache working it for my good. It makes me think of the picture my other friend Donna had recently – of a wound covered with a band-aid and God’s hand holding a needle and stitching the wound closed – but from the inside.

I asked God to go back with me to the womb. I believe our souls have memories that far back. I asked him to show me where he was when I was in my mother’s womb, and he showed me a picture he had sketched of a little blonde-haired, blue eyed girl. He was looking at the sketch while excitedly, diligently working on carrying out his design plan for me – one day at a time. Beside the sketch he had written out these words: creative; poetic; carefree; writer; mom; wife; friend; daughter; sister; kind; tender-hearted; smart; strong; loving; beautiful; loyal; encouraging.

You may not think about being in your mother’s womb, but I do.
I am so grateful he chose me and created me.
I am more grateful still that he chooses me daily and is still in his workshop – looking at the sketch and creating me.

Posted in family, Friends, heartache, Life Lessons, Truth, Uncategorized, waiting, Word, Writing

Wait Lifting #6: What Are You Waiting For?

Fireworks are exploding over my North Texas town right now. This is one of my favorite holidays, but I skipped it this year. Oh, I had to work some, but the real work I did was on my heart.

I let it heal.

Sometimes it takes a long moment.

My long moment lasted 8 years. I’m finally ready to tell my story tonight…mostly because if I get it out, it’ll bring me closure.

July 2nd, 2011 was going to be one of the best days of my life.

I had been dating someone for a while and he was flying here from Ohio, where he lives, to spend the July 4th weekend with me and meet my family.

My kids were 3, 10, and 14. Stephi was especially excited to meet him – they talked on the phone when he would call me and he was all she could talk about.

Long distance relationships are difficult, at best. But every single weekday morning at 7:15am I would hear my phone ring and it would be him. He could not wait to say good morning and that he loves me. Then he’d text throughout the day just because he was thinking about me – until he texted to say goodnight – always at 9:30pm.

I’d driven up to meet him 2 months prior and the weekend was amazing. It ended oddly, but I was in love. Finally.

At this point I’d been a single mom for 8 years. I was in graduate school. I was teaching a summer technical writing course at the local university that summer, but school was out for this long holiday weekend and I was beyond excited.

His plane was to arrive late in the morning. I waited and waited for his call – well past the usual 7:15 timeslot. He finally called from the airport, said his flight was cancelled but he had been placed on another flight. He’d call with which airline/gate so I could know where to pick him up. So I waited. 2pm. 4pm. Nothing. I called the airline. I called the hospitals. I watched the news. Nothing.

His phone ringer was off. I left a third text message.

Nothing.

I had a massive panic attack. I just remember that my mom sat beside me the entire day. It’s one of my favorite moments with her, actually. I just remember her being close to me that day. Sometimes, even as an adult, you just need your mom.

How could I explain this to the kids? What would I say? Where was he? What was happening?

I finally slept. It was that sleep you have in the middle of an exhausting crying spell where you wake up, wonder where you are, remember, and start again where you left off.

The next day was a blur. No word. No arrival. Nothing.

The day after that was July 4th. I found myself pushing my kiddo in his stroller at the town parade. The parade is my favorite. I’d described it in detail to my boyfriend and he laughed at the Texas small town of it all. It was 9am. My phone rang just as the parade started coming down the street. It was him.

I shouted over the band. “Are you okay? Where are you?”

He said he’d had a medical emergency at the airport and he was at the hospital. He said which one. I knew he wasn’t. I’d already called them.

Short ending to a longer story: he was married.

I’d been waiting. Panicking. Crying over someone who I thought I might spend forever with, but things just were not what they seemed.

This blog is called “What Are You Waiting For?”

I told my story to say this: sometimes you’re waiting on the wrong thing.

Then again…sometimes you’re waiting on the right thing. Recently I waited almost 6 months to find a good job. My waiting and persistence paid off. I now have a great job.

Sometimes you need to wait.

Sometimes you just need to move forward.

I have friends right now who are waiting on healing – for themselves or others. Some who are waiting for spouses to come back. Some waiting on divorce proceedings to proceed. Some for a child to come home. I know two people this past week who have said they are just waiting around to die, and they hope it comes sooner than later.

I’m suggesting we stop waiting and start living in the pauses between the good things.

Hope. Anticipate. Dream. Dream BIG. Plan. Expect greatness.

But in the meantime – stop pausing your life (waiting) and start living.

Go watch the parade – even if you’re in tears.

Do what you need to do.

Today I didn’t want to do the normal July 4th stuff. I needed to spend time here with the kids. I needed it not to be a holiday. I needed it to be a healing day.

I got it.

Life is but a blip. Be present with the ones you love in every single moment.

Go enjoy.

What are you waiting for?

Posted in family, Friends, Life Lessons, Love, Uncategorized, Word, Writing

Glamour Shots

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I was purging old stuff in the garage this morning. I don’t even want to tell you what ALL I found. But I came across something that got me thinking.

I came across old Glamour Shots pics  of myself from 1995. That was the year I got married. I looked at my pic for a long while. My makeup is extremely thick and I have what I affectionately call my big Texas hair. This was when poofy bangs and a feathery look was the thing. I was 20 and beautiful, but I had absolutely no clue what I wanted out of life.

Like. Zero. Clue.

The girl I was back then thought she had knew what she wanted. Note the engagement ring in the pic. She had a good job as a retail manager. She was planning a wedding, ran 3 miles a day, and was at her ideal weight.

Here’s the deal – the 20-year-old girl in the picture would never have known what she really wanted or needed if she did not go through all the heartache she went through to get her to today: age 44 and 13 days.

That pic was pre-kids, pre-divorce, pre-assault(s), pre-brother’s death to Cancer, pre-heartache, pre-financial woes, pre-depression, pre-Cancer, pre-Bachelor’s degree, pre-Master’s degree, pre-single-parenting-for-16-years, pre-job-loss, pre-so-much-life.

Right now the kids are in the living room going through the old baby pics of them I found. I’m enjoying their laughter. It’s been difficult, being a single parent. It is certainly different than I expected parenting would be. But without it, I wouldn’t have my youngest.
My kids have changed my priorities in life for sure and for the better.
I am so grateful for the three blessings I have.
I am grateful for Katie’s funny jokes and stories about life and all the joy she lets me in on, on her path to get her teaching degree. She has the most even-keeled personality – ever.
I am grateful for Stephanie singing her heart out at all times and her all-over-the-place emotional greatness. She has the best laugh.
I am grateful for Gavin’s 11-year-old-boy sense of humor. For his knowing every part of every movie score he’s ever heard and being able to sing it back on cue. He has the sweetest heart.

My bestie tribe has helped me clarify what is good for me and what is not. I thoroughly enjoy their wisdom. Without going through my divorce I may have missed out on these 3 amazing people who are in my “tribe” – my inner circle. They keep me prayed up. They lovingly tell me when I’m wrong about something. They make me laugh every single day.

But the main things that have enhanced my life and made me grow are my heartaches – both my mistakes and just awful things I have had to walk through. Like divorce. Like Cancer. Like losing my brother to death and then my sister to the fallout over grieving him. Like so many things.
Trauma made me struggle and cry and bend. It made me stronger in the weak places. If I hadn’t gone through so much trauma, I wouldn’t have so much true joy.

This is because the struggle made me appreciate what I do have. It made me grateful every single day for my kids and my parents and my tribe and all the other friends I have.

The struggle drove me to God. It drove me to soak in His Word. It drove me to be better. It made me stronger.

As I went through the pictures today, I asked God to redeem each heartache. I asked Him to allow me to see where He was along the way. I found He was true to His promise to never leave me nor forsake me.

As for the glamour shot pic – I don’t look at it and wish I were younger. I just don’t. I look at it and realize how much more glamorous my heart is today. How much more confident, secure, and full of wisdom. AND I realized I’ve aged gracefully. The pics here are 24 years apart. I haven’t really aged all that much. I feel comfortable in my skin, but love myself enough to want to exercise and eat healthy and be a better version of myself day-by-day.

I’m glad I stumbled across my struggles today – it helped me appreciate my strengths.

Posted in family, Letters, Life Lessons, Love, Parenting, Word, Writing

For my Daughters and Nieces

Dolls,

You are lovely. You are beautiful, captivating, intelligent, lovely, and kind.

As a Mom and an Aunt I feel I’ve done you an injustice by living in an unhealthy way physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I have not correctly modeled “healthy” for you. Please forgive me. I plan to rectify all that over the next days and weeks.

I have not lived as if I’m a daughter of God. I’ve lived as if my worth, security, and confidence depend on the approval or disapproval of a man, of other women, or of society. Thank God He brought all this to my attention. I’ve just been so entirely wrong for so entirely long.

This stops today.

Here’s what I now fully understand: I am not the product of nor do I bow at the bidding of my own faults, the faults of others, or anyone but God. And neither do you.

1 Corinthians 3:16‭-‬17 (CSB) says this:

“Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, and that is what you are.”

Ladies, you are God’s holy temple, his dwelling place: mind, body, soul, and spirit.

Psalms 84:1‭-‬4 (CSB) says this:

“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord of Armies. I long and yearn for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God. Even a sparrow finds a home, and a swallow, a nest for herself where she places her young — near your altars, Lord of Armies, my King and my God. How happy are those who reside in your house, who praise you continually. Selah”

Ladies, I reside in His house. YOU reside in His house. We are lovely. How happy are we who reside in God’s house. Future generations dwell in you.

What a joy and a privilege!

Katie: you are wonderful, beautiful, generous with kindness, and full of patience. This next generation needs a teacher like you. Walk in strength, wisdom, confidence, and security.

Stephanie: you are full of light, life, and creativity. We need your gift of worship to draw us to God. Walk in love, creativity, confidence, and security.

Madi: you are lovely, witty, curious, and highly intelligent. This generation needs your steadfast devotion to God. Walk in wisdom, godliness, confidence, and security.

Bree: you are beautiful, nurturing, fun-loving, and a pure delight. Your children will rise and call you blessed. Your husband is delighted with you for good reason. Walk in love, laughter, confidence, and security.

Lauren: you are the sparkle in your Daddy’s eye. You are a joy to all you encounter. The world needs your smile. Walk in love, laughter, confidence, and security.

To my future step-daughter (whom I have never met): you are a light in a dark world, a delight to your father, and a joy I have yet to behold. Your generation needs your light. Walk in boldness, grace, confidence and security.

To my goddaughters, my future granddaughters, and all my future greats: you are lovely, pure, intelligent, and kind. The world needs your love. Walk in wisdom, faith, confidence, and security.
I love you ladies. All of you. I applaud you and so enjoy watching you become women who love God.

Our battle isn’t against Dr. Pepper, carbs, comparison, or insecurity, but against evil itself.

Let’s remember to put on the armor of God daily. Walk like you’re walking next to Jesus. Remember you have angels assigned to you.

Write this on your mirror in dry-erase marker (I know y’all do this): I am a child of the Lord of Armies and today I will walk in confidence and security.

Remember I love you. Always.

Love,

Momma, Mommy, Aunt Melissa, M&M, and whatever all you grand-darlins will call me one of these years

Posted in family, Word

3:14am Christmas Morning – 2018

Early Christmas Morning

It’s 3:14am as I begin writing. You may ask: “Why on earth are you writing at this hour, Melissa?”

It’s the best reason, but if I fall asleep making the ham and Keto-friendly green-bean casserole tomorrow, this is why:

My 11-year-old son rushed to bed last night after carefully putting out cookies and milk for Santa and lettuce for the reindeer (since we’re out of carrots). He fell asleep quickly.

Oh, but this is his last elementary school Christmas and he’s way too excited to bother with sleep.

So at 1:30 this morning I heard him come into my bedroom with his Spiderman pillow and blanket and he announced – “Santa came!” This means presents and stocking stuffers and everything an 11-year-old’s dreams are made of. “Santa” is always generous, and this year was no exception. Gifts spilled out from the tree all over the living room.

So for almost 2 hours he tossed and turned and asked “what time is it?” and recalled his wish list until I finally announced it was time to get up and have a glass of milk and open 1 gift – from me.

He opened a red set of headphones. Music makes his heart beat (specifically soundtracks and symphonies), so I knew this was the perfect gift for my budding composer. He was so grateful. Then he went back to reading tags and shaking presents. His wide-eyed wonder and curiosity caused my slow-blinking eyes to wake up and remember something – I need to live like this.

Ask, Seek, Knock

Matthew 7:9-11 says “Who among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him.”

How much more?

Luke 11:13 expands this to tell us what specifically God is anxious to give us more of: his Holy Spirit.

Above these verses it says ask and it will be given. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be open. (Matt 7-8; Luke 11:9-11; Paraphrase mine)

Wonder in My Life

Now it’s 3:33. I’m letting my son try to sleep in the living room. I’ll go check on him shortly. I’m sure he’s wide awake.

But let me ask you what I’m asking myself: “What is it that keeps us up at night anticipating good things?

I know what it is for me. I received it last night on Christmas Eve. I received the gift of presence. Presence – quality time – is my love language. I got to spend some quality time last night with some people I dearly love. Not on the phone. Not via text. Live and close enough to hug. What a perfect gift! My heart is so full.

It’s exactly what I prayed for – for presence.

Ask and it shall be given. Ask for more of the Holy Spirit. Ask for good things. Your Father is excited to give you good gifts. Just like I knew the key to my mini-Mozart’s heart was red headphones, God knows the key to mine. And yours.

Merry Christmas y’all.

Whatever you do, be present and be grateful.

Posted in family, Friends, Life Lessons, Love, Word

When the Unexpected Happens

Has your life ever come to an end punctuation that you weren’t quite expecting? Haven’t you been so sure of one thing, only to, at the turn of a phrase, been suddenly unsure, and ended your sentence with a question mark instead of an exclamation point?! (Okay – that’s the word nerd in me.)

More practical:
Have you ever gone home to what you thought was a solid marriage, but then had to pack your bags suddenly because you discovered your spouse was cheating or wanting out? Or have you ever had an unexpected Cancer diagnosis? Or have you ever gone to work carefree one morning only to find out your job was suddenly ending? Or been in the car talking about dinner one minute and been hit by a deer the next and found yourself covered in glass and debris? That last one happened to one of my best friends this week. (Praise God she’s recovering well.)

I’m saying – there’s not much in life that is constant. At least not in mine. I feel like for the past 16 years I have been living in “what if” mode.

I’m constantly wondering what’s next.

But I’ve found some constants that keep me steady when things change suddenly.

  • Daily Bible reading
  • Worship music in my earbuds at work
  • Family time
  • Intentional time with friends

If I am not in the Word and constantly reminding myself that “God’s got this even when the unexpected happens,” then when the unexpected does happen, I return to my former ways of thinking. These include being slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to anger.

But the Word reminds me to “…understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.”
James 1:19‭-‬20 CSB

And that, “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in faithful love.”
Psalms 145:8 CSB

I want to be more like Him.

So I perked up when I came across Beth Moore’s quote from “The Faithful” Bible Study on Old Testament Heroes that says “When our old priorities don’t go with our new life, we either return to our old life or adopt new priorities.”

I love my new life. If you knew me before I surrendered to God, you know why. My old life was a mess. With Him life is not perfect, but the storms don’t shake me as much. And new friends and readers – if you read back over archived blogs about my life, you’ll find more storm damage than Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Andrew combined.

In fact, it’s stormy season for me right now, but you probably have no idea – because I’m in the boat with the God who tames the winds and rains and waves. Like this:

“…and as they [Jesus’ disciples] were sailing he [Jesus] fell asleep. Then a fierce windstorm came down on the lake; they were being swamped and were in danger. They came and woke him up, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to die!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves. So they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, asking one another, “Who then is this? He commands even the winds and the waves, and they obey him!”
Luke 8:23‭-‬25 CSB

In my old life I lived on my own time, with my own priorities, and on the little faith I thought I had (which was mostly self-centered.) In my new life I find that I need so much more Jesus than I think I do. Contrary to popular memes, I’m really NOT enough. In fact, I’m NOTHING without Jesus.

One final thought about new priorities that go with a new life: it’s so easy in this social media era to revisit our past and to “like” things just to be noticed. Please avoid this. If you’ve moved on to a new life, just move on.

And as we discussed in my Sunday morning group, “If that thought, lyric, or image put Jesus on the cross, (if it causes someone else to lust, or entices them to stumble, or is aimed at irritating them in some way) then it’s probably not worth liking, commenting, or posting.”

New life. New priorities. New year.

My word for 2019 is “MORE”.

What’s yours?

Posted in family, Friends, Life Lessons, Love, Parenting

My Thoughts on Raising Kids After Divorce

Good evening. It’s been a while since I’ve put my thoughts to paper. Tonight has me feeling reflective. So I thought I’d write til my thoughts are exhausted. I pray you are well, wherever you are.

This was the kind of week that had no breaks. None. Every day was long. Tuesday I spent almost $400 on new tires. Then my son’s school nurse called – he was sick with upper respiratory sinus junk. He’s been home all week, so I’ve worked from home all week. This was the kind of work week I like – full of learning new things, of reaching for new solutions. I love to learn. I love my job.

Friday, though, is what is on my mind tonight. On Friday, I had an accommodations meeting for my daughter at the High School where she is a Senior.

In preparation for this meeting I reached for a binder I made for her last year when she was undergoing inpatient treatment for depression and anxiety. I made a title page that says Stephanie’s Story. Included in this well-organized binder were basic program information sheets, attendance notes for multiple days missed, worksheets she had done in individual and family therapy, notes from psychiatrists and therapists, and at the very end – divorce/custody papers.

I hadn’t looked at this notebook in over a year. Looking through its contents reminded me of how far she’d come; it reminded me of how far we’ve come together. She went from depressed and anxious and cutting and low self-esteem to Miss bubbly 4.0 who almost has her cosmetology license and wants to be a pediatric nurse. You can read her backstory in a previous blog called Pocket Full of Shoestrings.

You see, in the middle of that rough patch, she decided she wants to be the kind of nurse who helps kids who need psychiatric care. So she is pursuing a cosmetology license in high school to pay her way through nursing school. I love it when God takes what was meant to harm us and uses it for good.

She inspires me.

It’s the last document in that binder, though, that has me thinking tonight: the divorce/custody papers.

Here are a few things I learned through divorce and custody issues:

  • You cannot get over a divorce until you’ve owned your part of what went wrong. In my case, it was being too focused on ministry.
  • Your only job is to love and advocate for your kids.
  • Even if what happened on the weekend they’re with their other parent was less than wholesome, this needs to be the first thing out of your mouth after you say “I’ve missed you/I love you”: “Tell me about the best things that happened this weekend.”
  • Pick your battles wisely – let some things go.
  • Never put down the other parent in front of or to your kids. The kids will realize it themselves if the other parent is doing something on the not-approved list. Actions speak louder. Yours included.
  • Safety first.
  • Do something kind for yourself every single day. Be intentional. You deserve it.
  • You deserve a break now and again. A vacation, even.
  • Who you hang around is who you become like. Choose your friends and adult outings when the kids are away wisely.
  • You are always a parent. You’re never off-duty. Even when they’re at the other’s house. Never be so impaired that you can’t pick the kids up at a moment’s notice.
  • Create a support system. Church. Community. Friends. Family. Don’t skip this one.
  • Write everything down (appts, financials, custody issues). You never know when you’ll need it.
  • Laugh.
  • Play board games and have movie nights with your kids. Leave your cell on the charger in the other room.
  • Be present.
  • Don’t bring your dates around the kids until you are at least “Facebook official.” This assumes you’ve vetted them and have made sure you two are going to last.
  • Remember that you’re not raising kids, you’re raising adults. Proceed with their future in mind.

I could go on.

The bottom line is, I’m at peace with who I am and where I am.

But don’t let my calm demeanor fool you. I’ve had many rough seasons over the past 15 years. My battles have been fierce and have taken a toll on me.

I learned, however, that losing is not an option, that I must keep moving forward, and that whatever I’m walking through is a life-season, not a life-sentence.

And now…I need a grande sugar-free pumpkin-spice latte made with coconut milk and 2 Stevias, si vous plait.