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 Friends, Uncategorized

Do You Have Friend-surance?

I was driving to work early today to enjoy a leisurely lunch before an in-house meeting. (I usually work from home.) My commute is a beautiful, winding drive through Argyle, TX.

I have had a rough couple of days, which followed a rough couple of weeks.

That’s when it hit me. Literally. I was stopped in traffic and the car behind me hit my car fairly hard. My neck and right arm took the brunt of the impact.

I sat there stunned for a few moments, then pulled over. The lady behind me pulled over too. Surprisingly, no one else in the long line of traffic stopped to render aid. I was okay. Just dizzy and stunned. My vitals were good. We exchanged info. My bumper is a bit roughed up. But no real damage was done.

And then the headache started. As the afternoon wore on I realized I can barely turn my head to the right. My right hip feels like someone took a baseball bat to it. And my right arm protests anytime I move.

Sometimes what appears to be minor damage on the outside causes major pain on the inside.

It seems like the smallest impacts can make for the greatest aches. And these kinds of aches seem to come in ripple-effect waves.

My latest life impact is actually something I should have seen coming and gotten out of the way. The impact point was a friendship I saw moving toward a relationship and we completely miscommunicated.

Miscommunications happen.

There was a minor impact when we finally communicated clearly, but my heart has taken the brunt of the impact.

To be fair, he communicated clearly and my heart didn’t want to hear it because it would hurt, and I’d put in over a year’s worth of time and effort to something I thought we were building together. When I realized it just wasn’t going to happen, my heart wanted him to see things my way. I think they call this bargaining.

Our miscommunication is like the picture of two people looking from opposite ends of a number. Is it a 9 or a 6? The answer is – yes. It all depends on your perspective.

Just like my arm and my neck today after the wreck, time and rest will heal me. When I look at it objectively, nothing really got broken. It was a minor, repairable scratch in an otherwise strongly-built friendship. The friendship will definitely survive. But right now I just ache so badly. I’m ready to start to heal and begin the repair work.

If you know me you may be surprised that I’m walking through this. I’m pretty strong. I just keeping on walking through life, but my heart hurts.

I smile. I write. I encourage. And just like today – I went on to lunch and work post-accident, but I was hurting the entire time.

Why am I writing this? Is this a journal entry or an encouraging word?

It’s both.

Can you think of a time you lost a friend or had words with a loved one or miscommunicated or had some kind of impact that hit you out of nowhere and you looked fine on the outside, but were aching on the inside?

I just wanted to say – I get it.

Build solid enough friendships that minor incidents won’t damage much. And if damage is done, which is what usually happens in any relationship, build in the friend-surance of love, grace, peace, space, forgiveness, and laughter to help get you healed and back on the road.

Oh…and some other great friend-surance is of lots of time spent laughing over lattes.

Life is better with friends. Take care of those you love.

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

190501_165834_COLLAGE-1

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 addiction, Cancer, Friends, Life Lessons

Addiction and the Single Parent

If you’ve come here under the guise of an incognito web search on addiction and single moms or single dads or single parents, it’s okay. You’re welcome here. In fact, I was thinking about you when I was sitting at the coffee shop starting this blog.

I didn’t come into this single parent world 16 years ago quietly. When my husband of 8 years left me (for his pregnant girlfriend, now wife) I cried for a month. Seriously – a month. I wandered around muttering things like – “divorced? me? how did this even happen?”

Looking for Love In All the Wrong MySpaces

And then I quietly began the first addiction – the internet and online dating. I was looking for love in all the wrong MySpaces. (Now if you didn’t laugh…)

Back in the early days of social media, of Yahoo 360 and Multiply (aka: pre-WordPress meets pre-Facebook) and way too many chat rooms, I began writing out my feelings. I couldn’t sleep at all that first month, so I was online – a lot. It wasn’t long before men began to charm me and to sweet talk me with words that sounded scrumptious to my starving soul. It wasn’t long after that until I began meeting them. This may sound innocent or non-addiction-sounding. Let me clarify:

I once chatted online for 24 hours straight. My heart was so empty that any contact would suffice.

A person who is full tramples on a honeycomb, but to a hungry person, any bitter thing is sweet.

Proverbs 27:7

That summer I was sexually assaulted – twice – by men I didn’t have any business meeting online. The first time was the day I was going to file for divorce. He seemed like a great Christian businessman and father.
I’ve never really discussed the particulars of what happened next with anyone. The next time was at a party you can read about in a previous blog.

I’m not suggesting the internet is only populated with creepy people, on the contrary, I have some amazing friends (men and women) I’ve met online.
But please hear my heart:
Just because we’re divorced, widowed, or are single parents for whatever reason, we are not that desperate. We do not need to fill the void in our hearts with anyone. Period. Whether they treat us well or not, we have kids that need us to be safe. We have kids who need our time and attention. And when we start trying to fill the void in our lives with anyone instead of asking God to come fill that void for us, then we are destined for more heartache.
My best advice here, if I may: fill your heart with good, trustworthy off-line friends. Find yourself in the Psalms or a good book. Get a hobby.
Be full; otherwise, even what is bitter will begin to taste sweet.

Friends in Low Places

When I realized that filling my life with men I met online had completely wrecked my life (literally – texting and driving on the way to meet someone caused me to total my car), I turned to something else to fill the void. I turned to alcohol. Please don’t stop reading yet, I’m not condemning a glass of wine with dinner or a cocktail with friends once a month.

I was already in the middle of this addiction before I knew it had begun. When the kids would go to their Dad’s every other weekend, I would go to my old high-school boyfriend’s apartment on those Friday nights for a glass of wine, his amazing lasagna, and to watch boxing. I still absolutely love boxing. But adding wine to the sauce led to sipping while making dinner, with a glass after, then three. And one night, when I was sitting at the band girlfriends’ table at the club while the guys rocked out on stage, I found myself surrounded by 4 empty glasses and a bunch of extremely offended women. I still have no clue what I said, but it was offensive.
Binge drinking had completely taken over these weekends.
I had only wanted to relax, unwind, and forget my kids weren’t there with me that weekend. But it had totally taken over.

What stopped me? Well, I had my son.
My son doesn’t go back and forth to another parent. He is all mine. I had to be home. I stopped drinking so much for the best reason. My son is amazing.

Again, from my heart here: instead of filling your life with meaningless, or dangerous fillers, fill your life with great things. Intentionally lose the reasons you need to go where your addiction runs rampant. If it’s alcohol, try a craft night with friends instead. If it’s drugs, flush them and lose your contact’s number. Find an AA or NA or CR meeting and work on the things that are out of control in your life.

Celebrate Recovery helped me with all of the issues I’ve faced in my life. But I had to take the first step. If you’re local and need to find a meeting or need someone to go with, just ask me. I’ll rearrange my life to walk into that first or fifteenth meeting with you. If you’re not local, ask a friend or just be brave and walk into a meeting. You’ll find you aren’t alone.
Remember: if I can, you can.

“Stressed” Spelled Backwards is “Desserts”

My last addiction was food. I think I grew up with a buttermilk biscuit in one hand and a piece of home-fried chicken in the other. And my bottle was probably full of homemade gravy. By the way, I make the absolute best cream gravy. But I digress.

All my life I have been an emotional stress-eater, but food addiction actually started providing a mask for me. I decided I didn’t want to be seen anymore, because being seen = being hurt. So I just ate what I wanted to eat. And I didn’t really care what other people thought, because I didn’t care either.

Here’s the thing, though – I found myself in 2015 topped out at 352 pounds. I realized I needed to stop when I went to see The ICE in Grapevine, TX and I couldn’t walk even halfway across the hotel without stopping to rest. My heart, my joints, my lungs hurt. My life literally hung in the balance. I had gastric sleeve surgery in April 2015 – just before my 40th birthday. I lost 93 pounds. But since I hadn’t sorted out the real reason I had gotten so heavy in the first place, my weight slowly crept back up. I regained 50 pounds. Through counseling for past sexual abuse, I finally figured out what the issue was for me. It may be different for you, but I highly recommend getting a professional and a really good friend who will keep you accountable.

In October 2017 I started having major female issues which led to my having a hysterectomy in May 2018. My doctor said that the extra fat I was carrying was causing me to have estrogen overload, which had caused Endometrial Cancer. My addiction could have cost me my life. The surgery was long and costly. Ultimately, they got all the Cancer. As I recovered, I realized just how much my emotional starvation had consumed my life. As a result, I’ve been working on that, and have lost 51 pounds since my hysterectomy.

Left – January 2015. Right – January 2018.

If you were sitting across from me right now and were struggling with food addiction, I would say this to you: “I see you, and you are stunningly beautiful.” And then I would say, “let’s walk through this together.”

The Next Step Forward

I’m asking you today to do one thing. Just one. I want you to identify that thing you are using to fill a void in your life. I want you to take the next step forward toward healing in that area.

I handle life with prayer. Before I hit “Publish” I prayed that if you needed to read these words, that you would somehow find this post. If you’re reading these words and have been looking for a “sign” or an “answer” – consider that you’ve found it. You got this. You are brave, bold, and beautiful (or handsome). You may stumble through this next step, but I’m telling you, you have what it takes to step over this obstacle, away from this addiction, and step through to a better life.

Now go! That applause is from me.

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 Friends

Identity Thieves, Fake News, and Blueprints

Good afternoon. Happy Costume Day (aka: Halloween). Today I went to work with several “Hello, My Name Is…” stickers on my shirt, but none of them said my name. I went as an Identity Thief. One of my co-workers had the word FAKE on her shirt and wore a newspaper skirt and came to work as Fake News. Trump would have tweeted about us.

I love Costume Day.

I’ve realized lately that my life is a bit related to both fake news and an identity thief. I say that because in a few friendships I have right now, I’ve realized this friend and I had been trying to build one house (relationship) with two entirely different sets of blueprints.

Note: this is about to be me at my most transparent.

I wonder how many arguments, hurts, and disappointments are caused by this very issue. How often do we just assume the other party has our mindset and so we just go down a path toward a building a relationship only to stumble when we realize one of us is building a home for the two of us to live in while the other is building a park for the two of us to play in?! And what mayhem might occur if, at the same time, the same park builder was building a home with someone else who was actually thinking they were building a park together?? Nobody wins.

It’s hard to change blueprints mid-project. We need to be on the same page.

Life happens so fast. It is difficult when friends make a plan together and then one just abruptly changes plans or decides to go their own way. It leaves the other person solely responsible for whatever they were building.

I don’t have real solutions here. Life isn’t a sitcom that resolves itself in 30 minutes.

What I’m saying here is, perhaps we should have more real, honest expectations-on-the-table-conversations right up front. I think it would save us all some frustration.

That’s all I have for today.

Please, y’all – all treats. No tricks.

Be safe tonight.

-Melissa