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Life is Worth Living

Is life worth living? We make it worth living by doing the works our Father set out for us to do and by who we become. Live loved. Love Life.

As someone who struggles with depression, I have also struggled with finding a reason to live. Life gives us so many reasons to desire death: struggles, hurts, suffering of so many kinds. I see them as things that make me long for heaven. There was a time when my hardships made me want to die so badly that I did try to kill myself… and failed. And not just once. This led me to wonder, what am I living for? Why won’t God let me die or take me? What makes life worth living?

When I had my first child, she gave me a reason to live—to care for her.  But there were days when that wasn’t enough to keep me from longing for heaven. Then my sister died and left behind four beautiful girls and a husband who loved her. And I should mention, I was about 6 months pregnant when she died. This experience floored me emotionally and psychologically. At the time, I was not properly medicated for my bi-polar disorder and anxiety, and it was all I could do to hold it together. Having a life growing inside of me kept me alive, because if I killed myself I killed her, too.

When the baby was born – my second daughter – we named her Serenity Elizabeth Joy (Serenity because, at the time, she was serene, Elizabeth after my sister, Mary Elizabeth, and Joy because we knew she would just bring the world joy (plus it sounded great with the other names, I admit.) At 18 months old, my dearest Serenity E. J. became the strong-willed, energetic, outgoing, and defiant child that she is today. I love that girl with every ounce of my being AND she is one of my greatest challenges. She tests my patience, tries my resolve, and consistently checks on my own consistency.

I must admit, there were days I have wondered, “Why me?” I would pray and ask the Lord, “Why did you give me this child who I find to be such a challenge??” I prayed this prayer for nine years until one day it hit me like a slap in the face. I am the only woman who could possible parent this child. That is not to say that if I did die in some accident God couldn’t raise up another person to care for her. In Esther 4:14 Mordecai tells Esther, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” This tells me that if I killed myself God could raise up another to care for her, but I believe she was given to me for a reason.

Scripture says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I was placed here to do the works that God has prepared in advance for me to do.

And I am just now discovering what those “works” are. Being a wife, raising my children, homeschooling my children, writing the books that God has placed upon my heart, blogging to hopefully share some bit of wisdom that might help others, and (perhaps) I will go to massage therapy school to help others not only feel better but also get better.

All this and still there have been hardships. A week ago, I found out that my brother, Dennis, died tragically. He was very young – only 49. He had just had his birthday in May. I love all my siblings. Even so, for some reason, Dennis and I had some kind of special connection. There was a running family joke that we were twins separated at conception. He had a different mom who (as I mentioned in a previous blog) had died when he was young. Though Dennis and I had our struggles in our relationship, I always loved him deeply. If I were not properly medicated right now, I am not certain how I would have handled his death.

(I cannot stress enough how important it is to get help if you struggle with something – anxiety, depression, bi-polar, or just general inexpiable sadness. Doctors can help, and finding the right kind of help can mean the difference between life and suicide for many people. If you google how many people kill themselves each year you may find yourself feeling like perhaps you should reach out more. But I digress…)

I have realized though that if I wait for the perfect moment where everything is right in the world and thinking at that time I can live happily, perhaps then I will never truly live my life. I have found myself sleeping through the rough days sometimes – asking my amazing MIL to keep the kids. Or sometimes I have found myself floating – you know, just going through the motions but never really feeling any joy or happiness, sometimes feeling nothing at all.

This leads me to thinking how do I go about my life living it and not floating or sleeping through it? How do I experience life, allowing those experiences to shape me but not define me?  How do I live my life with happiness and experience the joy of the Lord on a regular basis?

The answer is so simple and yet so challenging for me to live out. The hardest part for me is that I have known it for years, believed it with all my heart, but struggle to feel it in my heart.

Philippians 4:4-9 says (my emphasis added):

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(And this next part is the HOW I live my life with happiness and experience the joy of the Lord on a regular basis.)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such thingsWhatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

That sums it all up in a pretty little package. Just read it again and DO IT. Then read it again, if you need to, and make a decision to do it. Make a decision to “think about such things,” to pray to the Lord asking for help, thanking Him for the good stuff and the bad stuff, and accept the peace that He extends to you.

The Friday, after finding out my brother was gone, I had a rough day. I was wallowing in my sorrows and feeling sorry for myself. I have that right in this situation, but it was affecting my parenting, how I was treating others, and how I felt about myself. I listened to a song (the lyrics aren’t perfect but the premise is good) and it made me realize I had to shake the devil off and LIVE MY LIFE.

So, I commit here and now before the friends and strangers that read my blog, that I will continually do my best to be my best self and I will live my life – truly live. Mary and Dennis are gone but not forgotten. They can no longer live, but I can and I must. I must make my life worth living by choice.

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Sincerely from the heart,

Super Momma Maggie

(I plan to begin posting more on my other blog. It will be about my past life experiences that have made me who I am. If you are interested, check out www.maggieaspoon.com. And if you enjoyed this blog please like and share. Thanks!)

 

Just a little advice

Where do I start? I have learned so much from the death of my brother Dennis that I feel like I could go on forever writing about all the wisdom God has blessed me with during this difficult time.

I have already posted about cherishing life and living life. So now here is just some random advice.

  1. Live in the moment, but consider the future and the effects your momentary living will have on the future. For example, my body is overweight. I could “live in the moment” by eating whatever I want, whenever I want. However, the fact is that if I don’t want my journey to end early or painfully I must lose weight. Therefore, I must consider what each bite of food is doing to my body. This is a subject I could ramble on about but I wont. Let’s just say it is somewhat of a recap of the last blog post: Live your life… but live responsibly.
  2. Instill your moral beliefs and values upon your children. I am a Christian so in my case that would be the Bible. Please recognize here though when I say to “instill” it in them, I am not meaning to bang them over the head and force it down their throats. I am saying that if you do not instill YOUR moral values and beliefs into your children someone else will instill their moral beliefs into your child. This leads me to number 3.
  3. Have a plan for your child. I don’t mean to expect they will be the next Rembrandt, or even be a painter, a dancer, or whatever. No, I am talking about deeper than that. Figure out what you expect from your children and expect it, but be reasonable and always extend grace as needed. My personal plan for my children is a list of traits I hope and pray to instill in them; the list is individualized for each of my children. Perhaps I will post about that sometime.
  4. Children are often like a rainbow. Imagine each color is an emotion. They are beautiful when properly expressed and to know what that means you have to know your child.
  5. Know your child. Really get to know them – and their friends.
  6. Never ever, ever, GIVE UP. There is a distinct difference between recognizing a lost cause and a challenging situation. Learn to know the difference. Get up. Dust off. And go at it again, and again, and again, until you succeed.
  7. Mend relationships. Not every relationship is healthy. I know that, but perhaps consider, “If this person died tomorrow what would I wish I had said or done differently, if anything?” And go for it. (But there is a time and a place for letting someone go.)
  8. Regret is from the devil. It is an evil monster that hopes to steal your happiness. It saps your emotional energy at the very thought of the incident(s) that you regret. NEVER WALLOW IN REGRET! NEVER! Let it go. Like the song says… (When you stop singing read number 9.) 😉
  9. Tell people how you feel about them, even when it is challenging but especially when you have something kind or encouraging to say. You never know when those kind words or encouragements will save a life.
  10. Fearlessly be yourself. ALWAYS.
  11. Recognize you cannot fix anyone. But also recognize that people can and do change. Your example and expressions of your feelings in a kind manner are the best ways to help a person change. But some people are just old dogs that don’t want to learn new tricks. In those moments we have to either accept that person or their traits and move on, or be willing to let them go. Sometimes a lack of change can lead to a person who is much like standing water. Sure it is water and water is good, but standing water, when left alone without runoff will become stagnant and gross.
  12. Never, ever stop growing. You are either growing or dead. There is no in between.
  13. Dream. But don’t just dream the possible stuff. Dream the im-possible. Audry Hepburn said, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says “Im Possible.” You will never reach the stars if you aren’t aiming for the moon.
  14. Love. Love your neighbor, your friends, your parents, your kids and especially complete strangers because every one of those people need love. We all need love and everyone may not deserve it by their actions, but who deserves love is not for us to judge. Love is like water – it gives life. Pass Love out like you have an endless supply because really you do.

I could ramble on more but again I find myself musing at 12 am…

If you enjoyed this blog click on the “subscribe to feed” button to be notified when I post again. Don’t worry. I wont spam you. And please share on social media if you found this helpful. Thanks!

Super (but not feeling so super) Momma Maggie

(So my dear editor has commented that perhaps I should do something about my grammar, spelling and punctuation errors that happen when I write late at night. For your information, and hers, if I write after 11 p.m. I schedule the article to post the following day.  This means there is no time for editing, or if there is I suppose I just feel like the point I am making is much more important than perfect grammar, punctuation and spelling. I will do my best though. I suppose this is an area I could improve in.)

Cherish Life Pt. 2

I recently wrote about cherishing life. In my last post I ended with:

“What I am saying is simply to cherish life as if each moment is special and unique, because it is.”

This hit me hard. I have realized I haven’t done that. I haven’t lived like I cherish life. I haven’t lived each moment as if I know the brevity of life – but I do. I do know how short life is. With a sister dying at age 30 and a brother dying at age 49, I know life can be short.

However, I have lived my life as though it were a burden.

Not that my children are the the burden, or my husband, but rather Life itself. Life, for me, has been filled with so much struggle, pain and strife and enough death that I must admit it is something I’m not sure I want anymore.

I am not saying I want to kill myself.

What I am saying is I feel fed up with the struggles of life. I want life to be easy. My life has never been easy, but I know it could have been harder. (I cannot imagine how people life a happy life when they have been through even more than I have.)

For me, happiness is fleeting and joy is illusive. But I refuse to make that the state of my being permanently. And wha ti smore is that I refuse to give up!

I have a friend – a very dear friend – who confessed to me how unhappy he was with life. He compared himself to someone who lives their life thinking only of themselves – not because they are selfish or uncaring – but because they are indifferent. He said he feels “satisfied” with life, but not happy.

I don’t want to live my life like my friend – or like my brother, Dennis, who seemed to never overcome any struggle that came his way. His struggles stacked up like garbage similar to the the poem below. “Sarah Cynthia  Silvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out” but Shel Silverstein.

garbageout

Notice the end. When Sarah decided to take the garbage out it was too late and she met an awful fate.

I suppose this blog – part two – is about not just cherishing life, but living life. Truly LIVING LIFE. I have another friend who happened to leave the fellowship of believers to become an atheist for many reasons but one seemed to be that he felt like God himself was a burden and that we only needed saving because God condemned us, if He even existed at all. (This is a subject for another blog.)

I could go on forever about the subject of God but all I will say here is that it is not God who is the burden, but rather my response to what happens in life. The loss of my brother, for example, has given me a choice to give up on life or keep living and make sure I actually live my life not just survive it. But I digress.

Again it is 1 a.m. and I am blogging. This turned out long. I hope you read to the end.

Let me end by saying what I believe living life looks like:

Taking pictures (because someday that is the only image you will have of someone), making memories, always doing your best to be your best and giving yourself and others grace and love.

This is the quintessence of life: to live a life where you are your best self, not to please people but rather because, aside from religious reasons, it is logically the best thing to do.

Life is easier when I am my best.

And with that I bid you good day, as I have scheduled this to post tomorrow.

Super Momma Maggie

(To Read Cherish Life Pt 1. click on this link: Cherish Life Pt. 1)

 

Cherish Life Pt. 1

Written around 12 a.m. on Saturday, June 24th.

Today began like any other day. I woke up groggy, called my mom (as I do nearly every morning), and got dressed. What I didn’t know was that this would mark one of the hardest days of my life.

I was born the youngest of five siblings but it was complicated. My mom had given up her son for adoption when she was 19, so I wasn’t even raised with him. As for the others, Mary was my only full-blood sibling, but I was raised with my dad’s two sons from his first marriage as well, so they all felt like one big somewhat happy family. The only problem was that I think I was born too late. I mean, I know God know’s what He is doing and all but the gap between my siblings and I proved to be a problem.

Dennis was the oldest sibling I was raised with. He was brilliant – I mean a true genius. But like many genius people, he had his pitfalls.  Those are not for me to share, but lets just say he struggled his whole life to overcome his issues. His mother had died when he was young, which is how our dad ended up with my mom, and that trial was one he struggled with his entire life.

…A life which was cut short.

Dennis is gone, but never forgotten, as they say. The hardest part is that before he died we had “parted ways,” so to speak. We had a fight in person, which then became a fight over email which ended in us not speaking. The cut off from each other ended up being permanent as he is now gone.

I am sharing all this partially to get it out there. Additionally I think it sometimes death helps us realize just how blessed we are. I knew I was blessed with a husband, children, and family and friends, but I took one life for granted. When we cut ties I let it be. I thought, “he will come back some day and we will make amends.” I didn’t even try to make amends. It wasn’t pride, really, it was more that I thought I had time. We had cut ties before and then made amends. How would this be any different? I thought time would heal all wounds and we would be friends again. I truly believed that it would work itself out.

It didn’t.

What I want my readers to know is that life is short. It has been compared to lilies in a field which bloom one day and then another day are gone. I truly never know when my candle will stop burning, nor do I know when the next person I love, like or care about in any way will cease to reside on this plane of existence. This means I should cherish life.

What I am NOT saying is to fear death or in any way avoid living. Neither am I saying that one should just do whatever because you never know when your number will be up. What I am saying is simply to cherish life as if each moment is special and unique, because it is.

I am writing this at 12 a.m. so more later.

(To Read Cherished Life Pt. 2, click on this link: Cherish Life Pt. 2.)

Super Momma Maggie

Now what!?

I am 8 weeks pregnant, and then some. I feel excited but find myself checking the clock.  Yes, checking the clock!  I find time moving very, very slowly. My mother is visiting which helps time pass as we get work done, but when we are not working time is dragging. I find myself thinking, “Now what!?” What am I supposed to do now that I am pregnant?

It feels a lot like when I came to a realization many years ago. I was sitting alone, thinking to myself about my life. It dawned on me that I had now reached my goal. My biggest goal in life was to get married to a wonderful, Christian man and then have 12 children. While I had not yet had 12 children, and I doubt I ever will, I did have two children and the Christian husband I had planned to have. I felt like I had accomplished something great, and found myself thinking, “Now what do I do?” Of course the answer was simple, “Raise the silly kids!” (And the husband, actually.) But I still found myself wondering if there was something I was missing.

Nope. There isn’t. This is my lot in life: to be happily married and raise my children. Now I am having a third child and find myself very excited yet wondering if I missed something. I also find myself sort of holding my breath as I think about the birth of this child. I have experienced two vastly different scenarios giving birth.

With my first child, Cassie, I gave birth in a birth center. It was a serene and beautiful birth. The only pain I experienced was the moment she emerged causing a small tear. I used no medications and was grateful I did it on my own. I went home four hours later, feeling like I had conquered the world.

With my second child I had planned a home birth. We were living in Oregon at the time and after my first experience now 2 years ago, I felt confident in a home birth. Well that didn’t work out! I woke up at 2 a.m. bleeding and had to call my midwife over. She personally drove me to the hospital, promising I could come home if it was “nothing.” It wasn’t “nothing.” My placenta was tearing from the wall and I was bleeding to death, literally. This ended in an emergency c-section, but I was alive as was my beautiful baby girl.

Now I find myself pregnant and thinking about this birth experience. I am hoping for a VBAC.  That’s a normal birth after c-section.  Since the previous birth was an emergency c-section some of you might think this isn’t possible.  I but knew I would want a VBAC 10 years ago when I was headed into surgery.  At that time I kept repeating it, “I want a VBAC.” And several times during surgery I heard the nurse say, “No, she want’s a VBAC, do it this way.” So I do think it is possible.

Really I am finding whatever you believe is possible often is. If you believe you can or think you can’t you are correct! Well I believe I can have a healthy pregnancy and end it in a VBAC, delivering a healthy baby BOY. (I want a boy but haven’t had my discovery sono yet.)

letmestopmesigned

Here’s to having a happy, healthy pregnancy and delivering a happy, healthy child!

May you be blessed today and always.

Supera Mama Maggie

 

The Back-side of Life

sometimes life is tough and all we see is the messy back-side of life. but I believe in the flip-side of life. It is a beautiful tapestry and I know God has a plan.

I was once told our life is like a cross-stitch piece.  On the back-side of life, the strings are a multi-colored mass that seems like nothing but a complete mess.  However, if we could just turn the piece over and see the completed project we would see that it is a stunning work of art.  Unfortunately, the work of life is never finished and sometimes all we can see is only the messy-looking back-side of life.

backsideofcrochet

If you could let the pain of the past go perhaps you could recognize the amazingly beautiful tapestry that is being built by the contrast between our struggles and joys. Our struggles are a mess, but God in His infinite wisdom knows how to turn that mess into something lovely.

Today I choose to believe in the flip-side.

flipsideofcrochetpeace

I believe the flip-side is full of beauty, and above all it is full of purpose.  Nothing in my life happens without a reason OR a valuable meaning (even if I never see it in my lifetime).  I truly believe that.  If for no other reason, struggles and trials and so-called bad things happen to me to help me grow.

Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you make be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4 NIV

Each string on the backside of life has purpose.  Someone once said, “If you knew everything God knew – everything – then you wouldn’t want to change a thing.”  To me, this means that God knows what He is doing, and is working through all the things I go through.

In your process of looking back at life, believe in the flip-side, knowing that God has something bigger in mind that we can know right now.  We can only see the small bits and pieces of life, but He sees the grand picture – the tapestry being made.  Trust Him.

May you be blessed today and always.

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

(I am working on a book about the traits of God drawn from my personal experience and study of scripture. I look forward to sharing it with you.  It is a work in progress as I study to understand the nature of God but I believe it will turn out to be a good read.)

**I did not make the lovely pieces of cross stitch.  I found them searching bing.com on someone else’s blogspot.  I am grateful I found matching pieces that were front and back.

Failure or Fixer-Upper?

Ever wake up and look at that to-do list and re-add items that you didn’t do yesterday? Or the day before that? Or a week ago?  Does that make you feel like a bit of a failure?

This is something that has been on my heart lately.  I have felt a bit like a failure — okay a lot like a failure.  My mother comes to visit about once every six weeks.  Well she hadn’t visited since September and I admit my house was in disarray when she came to visit in Janurary.  It is NOT, honestly, because I knew she was coming and loves to clean.  I work so hard to keep this house clean but with two kids and a husband who works full-time, it is tough.  I KNOW many of you understand where I am coming from.  But the messy house isn’t all of what makes me feel frustrated with myself.

Confession time: I am not who I want to be.  I don’t read my Bible hardly ever.  I’m not the best homeschooling mom ever.  My house is never completely clean.  I rarely pray unless I need something or someone else is struggling.  (I mean God and I don’t “chat.”  Not that it is commanded anywhere but really I think I should talk to Him more than when I want something…)

Really, dissecting that phrase: I am not who I want to be!!  But I am not even sure if I am who God calls me to be. I am a mom, a wife, and a business manager to a busy chiropractic clinic.  I work hard, but is it all enough?

I know that all it takes to change, for me, is to change my mind and just BE different.  I find that change comes easy to me.  However, when change involves other people, it doesn’t matter how good at change I am, they have to change too.

But the question here is am I a failure or a fixer-upper?

Is anyone ever a failure?  Think about that for a minute…

In my humble opinion, no one is ever truly a failure until they give up on themselves or die failing.  Look at Edison.  He worked so hard to make that light bulb and “failed” many, many times.  But it was the fact that he didn’t give up that kept him from actually being a complete failure.  In the end, he succeeded in his goal.

So moral of the story?  I am not giving up on myself.  I am not a failure.  I just have some fixing-up to do.  I have to make goals, stick with them and see them through.

So when you wake up and look at the to-do list and feel less-than, give yourself some grace and get outta bed and get to work.

May you be blessed today and always.

~Maggie A. ‘Spoon