Observations after a long and difficult day

Today marked the 11 year anniversary of the day my sister’s van hit a combine in the fog, killing her instantly, and sending her off to wherever God takes His children. I wondered what specific day of the week she died on only to discover it was actually Tuesday. So today was actually the exact day she died 11 years ago.

Morbid, I know. But bear with me here…

My oldest niece took the day off work so we could celebrate the life of her mother by enjoying a relaxing day together. Little did I know that lunch would cause havoc in my intestines and ruin half the day. I swear I used almost every restroom in every store we pasted by!! We were in a shopping district and I found myself spending more time in the restrooms than shopping! After a long, rough day I found myself the only one still awake. I began to look back at my life as I scrolled through social media.

I have lived 6 years longer than my sister. She was 30 when she died and I will be 36 in April. During the years without her a lot has happened that I have been unable to share with her or talk to her about. When I had my second daughter, I needed an emergency c-section. She was a nurse and I know she would have been there for me during such a difficult time. But she was gone already.

I cannot help but play the what if game every year on October 30th. But I can’t do that anymore. It drives me crazy and just makes me feel sad.

I have learned some things about handling death since losing my older sister and brother (2007 and 2017). These are in the order I thought of them:

1) death is something we all face therefore since I know that I need to be prepared. Have a living will, God-parents for my children, and yes, assurance for my afterlife.

2) never, ever, ever bother to ask “why.” It only brings pain. Knowing why doesn’t take away the hurt of the loss. My sister is still gone.

3) I am not the only one who lost someone. My sister had kids, a husband, parents, 3 half brothers, aunts, uncles, etc. I miss her and am hurting and I am not alone.

4) Accept that she is gone and love the moments she was here. No, she isn’t coming back, but I have to think of the good times we had instead of struggling every day to be happy because I focus on missing her.

5) Someone else cares and I am loved. God does. He is there the moments I need and want Him, and waiting for me when I don’t. He is there and He loves me.

6) I must avoid ruining everyone else’s day just because I feel unhappy today. I know my sister died on October 30th, 2007, but the stranger checking my groceries out for me does not know. So I shouldn’t react unkindly toward the strangers who I think should treat me with kindness. I get what I give.

7) I remind myself every time I think of her (and my brother), I will see them again. It is within me to feel and know that we will all be reunited someday. That brings me hope that no human can take away.

8) there is no good day to die. Though some circumstances make it easier to let some people go, there is never a convenient time for a loved one to die. Hands down, it is never something I welcome. Death, for me, is the worst suffering of life. My sister died on my half birthday. I didn’t care because we never celebrated that day. But it kinda drives my point home…

I hope some of these observations provided some insight for some of you. And I hope I wasn’t too morbid on one of my least favorite days of the year.

Be blessed with a long and healthy life… emphasis on healthy!

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

(Written and published from my phone. Please forgive all random errors and spellcheck failures. I did my best on the fly.)

who cares?

I have nearly 40 drafts of blogs I hope to publish someday. I am not lacking in the area of content. Why don’t I publish more often? Why am I not using this platform to express myself?

Simply put, I wonder to myself, “Who cares.” I mean that in the truest form: who does care to read my musings? I have a few followers, of whom I am grateful they are interested; even so I feel… I guess unworthy would be the right expression. I cannot help having hesitation as I read and re-read, and edit and edit again my 40-or-so blog drafts. Sometimes it makes me wonder what is wrong with me!

I cannot keep being so nit-picky about myself. Whether I have readers or followers or not! I have a voice and it should be heard, just like anyone else out there on any other blog or platform. This blog has given be the ability to express things that are important to me. I must take that step of hitting “publish” and start expressing myself more often!

What does all this have to do with you? I suppose I just wanted to express that you, dear reader, are not why I do not blog, neither is it because I have nothing to say. I hesitate to blog because I let my own judgement of myself get the best of me!

I sure find myself doing a lot of self-judgement! I have a frequent tendency to look in my mirror and only see all my flaws. Meanwhile my husband looks at me and sees a beautiful woman — more beautiful, he says, than any Venezuelan woman he ever saw in his travels! Then why do I judge myself so harshly!? Something I must ponder…

I am avoiding making this just another draft by publishing this tonight! I want to encourage anyone who reads this to stop procrastinating, stop self-judgement and go forth and do whatsoever you feel called to do (or say). How can I be the change I wish to see in the world if I sit alone in my house and do nothing? I choose to do something! I am a writer and I will write!

Be blessed.
Sincerely,
Maggie A. ‘Spoon

 

Being brave

Be brave enough to be authentic…

Authenticity comes very easy to me. What does not come easily is the ability to read people well enough that I ask the right questions at the right time, or say the appropriate things when I should. It has nothing to do with my desires to please others or not. It has everything to do with my unrestrained curiosity and my intense authenticity. Basically oftentimes I open mouth, insert foot. I know how my feet taste and the awful feeling in my gut when I have upset someone.

I can think of many examples which is unsettling. I recently scrapped a post about communication where I was basically complaining about my foot in mouth issue. But I did say at least one great thing on there… when I am the common denominator of an occurrence then I need to stop and look at myself in the mirror and figure out what the issue is or may be with me.

I have been considering the issue for over a week. That is when a caring frined told me that in her opinion I, “am difficult to communicate with, lack tact, say things I should not say and, I am inappropriate as well.” Fun words to swallow, eh? I was taken aback. I thought to myself, “This cannot all be true of me, can it?” But I listened as she listed a few examples. Then the more I thought about it the more examples I thought of myself. Times when people either said I hurt their feelings, upset them in some way, or times when people even left being my friend because I had said or done something outside of their consideration of social norms.

Conclusion: I am not socially normal. I am authentic, genuine, and I speak my mind with extreme curiosity. Oh, and I rush relationships terribly, therefore often sharing way to much too fast! I am just one big overload!!

And after considering this further I realized I was way overthinking this. Yes I upset someone… more than one someone. But I have to reconcile who I am with who I should be. I must also be at peace with myself during this process of growth.

I know the curiosity must be curbed. Also though I want to speak my mind sometimes it is better to just keep my mouth shut even when the conversation is about something I feel passionate about. Believe in it or not, I believe in the nudge of the Spirit of God. I have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. I strongly believe that when I feel nudged to speak up then that is when I should speak my mind.

I have had such occasions. Last year a woman did not understand the perspective of the group and the subject matter of which we were discussing. She was sharp about it and almost hurtful, though I know in her heart she was not intending to be hurtful in any way. I could not keep my mouth shut. The Spirit inside me took over and I explained where we were all coming from. Those are the moments when my authenticity shines and I know I am being brave and speaking up for those who will not or cannot.

That is who I wish to be: the voice for the so-called “little guy.” I want to speak up only when God leads me to. Psalms 141:3 says, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” which is a prayer I will be praying daily. I have been meditating on Proverbs 16:1 which says, “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.” This is a verse that has comforted me when I have been too outspoken; those moments when maybe I should have kept my mouth shut. (There are great Bible verses found at: https://www.openbible.info/topics/guard_your_mouth if you are interested.)

Considering all of this I have concluded that since I wish to be the mouthpiece of God, I must have peace when things don’t turn out my way. It is okay if someone doesn’t like me. A friend today reminded me of that. Not everyone is going to like me. Now if I truly upset someone and am aware of it, I will do my best to make peace. Roman’s 12:18 says, “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” As far as it depends on me… I cannot make someone like me. I cannot even make someone forgive me or make them let things go. What I can do is apologize, do my best to make amends and then I let it go! I have to let it go even if the other person does not.

I am giving myself permission to be myself even in the face of adversity and discomfort. I am an amazing Maggie. I cannot be anyone else. Just me.

Be blessed as you pursue your best self!

Sincerely,

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

Nike Says…

Nike says… but consider their logo. Consider the correlation. This is part of my massage journey.

“JUST DO IT!”

Ever consider that their slogan is “just do it,” while their logo is likened to a check mark, which symbolizes completion? It is almost as if, to me, it says, “Just go for it, until it is completed. See it through.”

This is where I am in life right now. SO much is growing and changing. I cannot share it all right now, but I can say that becoming a massage therapist is the greatest educational choice I have ever made! I am loving it, even if my clients are currently sparse.

It all began when my brother died. Well actually it began 14 years ago with a conference… but my brother’s death jumpstarted my career in a strange way. My older brother, Dennis, died in June of last year. I considered to myself the seemingly amazing and exciting life he lived. He was married with a son and he traveled around the world. He went to many places including Japan, Australia, and to Europe (several times), all in the span of about 25 years. He held multiple Master’s degrees on various subjects — I don’t even know what they are all about! On the outside looking in, Dennis was destined for greatness. And while I believe he was great, due to his death he fell short. Additionally, many people who knew him best know that Dennis struggled. It is not my place to share his story, but I can say that he for sure struggled…

I have found that many people who are very intelligent often struggle or are tormented with their own thorns or demons. After thinking about it for a moment I realize that everyone struggles with something.

Perhaps it is marriage, or the lack thereof, or kids and all the challenges with that. Perhaps it is work that causes some kind of mental suffering. But whatever it is, show me a person who has never struggled or suffered or experienced anything negative and I will show you a person in denial.

My point got away from me… my struggles have made me who I am, up to and including becoming a massage therapist. If Dennis hadn’t died, who knows if I would have gotten that push. The push was, “Dennis did so much, saw so much, and accomplished so much… what about me?”

It was a thoughtful process to go to school in the midst of grief. But I am so glad I did. It made grieving much more bearable because I wasn’t alone. I had my peers and my teachers, many of which helped a great deal.

A shout out to Ms. Theresa, Ms. Karla and Ms. Kristen. Each one of them formed who I have become so far as a budding massage therapist. I thank God for each of them crossing my path and I wish them well.

May your path be blessed today and always.

(Sent from my phone so forgive any errors.)

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

Food Lies

You cannot see a movie without popcorn… and a drink… and CANDY! Especially, if you are under the age of 99, must have candy! But what if food lies?

You cannot see a movie without popcorn… and a drink… and CANDY! Especially, if you are under the age of 99, must have candy!

 

Oh! And when you are out, make sure you notice that “HOT FRESH” sign at the Krispy Kreme Donut shop, and you must pick some up (and eat at least half a dozen while they are still hot and fresh)! Perhaps afterward, grab a quick bite at your favorite fast-food (or should I say fat-food) restaurant — with a soda of course!

Food is everywhere and one must have it with everyone it seems. When I go to a get-together it seems we must surround ourselves with food (or at least a somewhat overpriced hot beverage). Why must food be involved with my social life?

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I am the only one who feels like my life revolves around food, but I doubt I am alone. When I am almost finished eating a meal, I find myself thinking about the next meal. What will I eat? Where will I find this delicious food? What type of food do I want anyway? Mexican? Asian? American? Home cooked or eat out? So many choices and rarely do I make the best ones. I often find myself sitting in front of something I will regret eating later.

The hardest part of it all is

healthy-heart.bymhtopper

I actually think “love” is the right word there. No, I would not equate my love for food with my love for God or my family, but I might say, “I love food as much as I love my dog.” And I really love my dog!

Why is this that my taste buds rule my life? Why? Am I a victim of my taste buds? Do I cause my taste buds to control me? Or do I allow them to control me? Obviously, I allow it, but it makes me a victim of my harsh reality that food rules my life. Thinking about food, then eating food, then thinking about more food… it is a never-ending, viscous cycle of food and it has made me fat!

I admit, my choices have caused my body to be overweight. I know you wouldn’t believe me if I told you my secret, but it’s true. I am 100 lbs overweight. People hear me when I say that, but when they look at me, they don’t believe me. In the spring of 2010, when I was 27, I weighed 155 lbs and felt amazing. I could hike miles and miles without trouble. I could climb what I would call mountains (to a Texan anyway) but they were just really, really big hills and it was tough, but I did it. I did an event called Wild Canyon Games and it was a totally awesome experience!! We didn’t win *grumble grumble* but I had fun and I COULD TOTALLY DO IT! Now? I will be transparent. I weigh 260 lbs, feel miserable, and do not like what I see in the mirror.

The fact is that food lies! Food tells us it is yummy, edible and worth eating, no matter what we are considering. Our own taste buds and brains lie to us. After I eat more than enough food I still feel “hungry” for more. I have learned my taste buds and brain love food as much as I do and they are more than willing to keep eating more and more! Eating food makes us feel good. I think the worst part of food is what we eat will possibly love us forever, and ever, and ever by sticking to our hips, our waist, our gut, and anywhere else the fat and food desire to stick!

I should perhaps have said this sooner but I would like to say it now. Being “fluffy,” “chunky,” or whatever you wish to call it can be fine if you feel comfortable with your body. Some people come to peace with the way they are shaped, built, or sized. But I know me. I know my body’s abilities and once you know what you are capable of, is it easy to live with what you have become?

Now that I know I can hike, climb, and run fast, far and have a lot of fun doing all those things, I want it all back! I miss that life. I miss that me. And the only difference between she and me is that she ate healthy. No popcorn or soda or candy at movies. No hot fresh donuts. No junk!

junkfood-nosuchthing

That may sound like hell to you – going without the foods you enjoy. But for me, I choose health and wellness (and therefore small boobs – yeah I said it!) over food! I CHOOSE the me I want to be!

May you ever choose wisely and flick that demon off the one shoulder while listening to the so-called angel on the other! Live smart.

Be blessed!

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

The truth is out there

Ever had someone post something on social media and it sounds so ridiculous that you immediately dismiss it? Or perhaps you’re like me and you look up relevant research and such to find the facts. Either way, the truth is out there. Yes some things are just opinion but what if there is just a right and wrong? What if there is just fact and fiction?

I guess I think about this the most when my beliefs are challenged. I admit that sometimes when I am challenged I dig in my heels, get a little frustrated and stand my ground. But about half the time I do look at myself in the mirror and question where I stand. Am I wrong?

I don’t do this because I am insecure but rather because I want to make certain I don’t just follow the crowd of lemmings. I am always seeking to grow and change. I want to be the best me I can be, and that includes my belief systems.

My dad always told me not to believe anything or anyone at first but rather research, study and find the truth because the truth is out there.

No, my truth may not align with yours. That is when we must both step back and do some self reflection. We must do some self study and actually listen to the other person and consider their POV. Are they the one with the accurate belief system?

I hope you find the truth in all areas of your life. Be blessed.

Sincerely,

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

Contentment vs. Dissatisfaction

This helped me realize the path to true contentment. I found this journal post on my computer and expanded on it. Enjoy!

This helped me realize the path to true contentment.

I looked at my children as we sat enjoying some under-ripe watermelon and I considered people who have lost their children. I thought of how it would be to never hold my dear babies again, to never kiss their sweet faces and see their smile, or to never hear them randomly say “I love you” again. My heart ached for those people who have lost their loved ones.

Then suddenly it dawned on me. All my life, from the time I was a little girl, all I ever wanted was to get married to an amazing Christian man and have amazing children.  I prayed and prayed about my man. I obsessively talked to God often – perhaps a little too much — about what I wanted in a husband.  I am sure had God been human He would have complained long ago that I rambled about the subject. I would talk of what I needed in a father for my sweet children. I would talk to God about my desires for spending time with my children. But it suddenly hit me. I thought to myself, “Maggie you are here. You have arrived!”

If all I ever wanted was to have these two things I hold dear and now I have them, why am I not the happiest woman in the world?  I fulfilled my life-long dream at the age of twenty-one; few people experience such a feat! Was it because my desires changed? Was it because I was not as prepared for marriage or motherhood as I thought I was? Was it perhaps because my expectations of parenthood and marriage were vastly different than reality? All the above I am sure have affected my view of happiness.

Perhaps, however, it is something deeper? I think the issue is my belief that anything in this life could ever bring me complete satisfaction. I believed if I could get a husband, and get children than I would be happy.  Then I would think “if only he would… x… I will be happy,” or “if only my kids would… x… I will be happy.”  Then, of course, I would sometimes fall into the silly thinking many American’s struggle with,  “If only I had this or that then I will be happy.”

These are all lies that Satan has helped perpetuate in our society. Happiness is fleeting but true joy is to be cherished. It is my experience and understanding that true Joy in the heart only comes from Heaven and the blessings God has given us and this joy is eternal.

Paul said in Phil. that he learned the “secret” to being content.  Contentment is defined as: “pleased and/or satisfied; not needing more; free from care or discomfort.”

In Phillipians 4:12-13 Paul says, “12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret to begin content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”

(Philippians 4:13 is often quoted, but when paired with verse 12 and seen in context, it takes on more meaning and is, in my opinion, even more powerful.)

The secret to Paul’s contentment was a choice to believe firmly that he could do all things through Christ who gives him strength.  It was a choice.  Paul could have easily focused on the thorn in his side, vaguely mentioned a few times.  He could have focused on the martyr he had become and his frequent prison stays for no true crime.  He could have focused on the fact that Jesus stirred up passion in him and then was not physically present.

But I am certain what Paul focused on, from reading his letters, is though he had a thorn in his side, it reminded him of his humanity and the thorn was a blessing. (See 2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Though he spent time in prison, they could never take away his salvation or stop him from believing with all his heart.

And I am certain he focused on the fact that even though Jesus was not physically present with him, HE WILL RETURN, and he believed Jesus left earth for Heaven.

You see, Paul truly knew the meaning of “bloom where you are planted” a quote I have chosen to embrace. Paul knew God was with Him in each situation he found himself in.

Today, I choose to “bloom where I am planted” and to embrace the fact that I have all I need to be who I need to be.  I may “get” more “stuff,” and God may even bless me with more children or other meaningful events in life. However, NOW is all I can focus on.  I can turn my “can’ts into cans and dreams into plans,” but in reality without God, it would be meaningless.

Though I am certain some might not agree, I have found in my life that even my marriage and my motherhood does not bring me inner peace and satisfaction without God being a part of it.

Having God intimately involved in my life brings me peace and true hope which lasts and becomes reality. I find myself giving it all to Him because, I believe, while I can do my best to affect my future, it is God who really has it all figured out.

May you be blessed today and always,

Maggie A. ‘Spoon

(I found this lost in my “blog ideas” folder. It was written on 5/22/2013. So much has changed for me since then, but this all still rings true. Though I edited it a bit and added a little on, this is pretty much what I wrote.)