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.)

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

Transparency with Love

I am going to be completely transparent here and share my thoughts, feelings and lack of action. Enjoy the read!

I am going to be completely transparent here. I feel like Paul in scripture (Romans 7:14-25). I considered just quoting what he said, but he uses such language that I find myself getting lost in the verbiage and missing the meaning if I am not careful. Therefore, I read it again and again and decided to paraphrase. These are my words:

I know what I ought to do and what I ought not to do. But rather than doing the thing I know I ought to do, I do the thing I know I ought not to do, that is to sin. I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do not is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not what to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not what to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members [or parts of my body].

The point of it all? I know what I should do – what is good and right and best. I know how to please the Lord with my actions, words, and deeds. God has blessed me with a lot of wisdom, but I feel like Solomon from scripture here. Solomon had so much wisdom and yet made mistake after mistake and it ruined him and his empire. I feel like I have a choice: to do what I ought to do, the things I know are best – the things that please the Lord and the things we are called to do in scripture. OR I can choose to let it go and just let things be as they are, just give up, basically.

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I must extend myself grace, as the Lord extends me grace. I must recognize that I am imperfect and always will be. But I hold myself to such ambitious standards – standards I could possibly never reach – and I expect these things from myself and extend no grace when I fail. I beat myself up and feel guilty. Sometimes this causes me to feel sleepy, because I just feel so emotionally awful inside, so I give in and sleep my life away.

What I am trying to say is I have a lot of good advice to give but:

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I think, I feel, but I do not do. I refuse to find myself to be a hypocrite. I will not express to my readers all this great advice and follow none of it myself. I will hold myself accountable for who I truly am.

I was once in a meeting where they asked us to come up with a purpose and mission statement, and recently I was instructed to come up with a chief aim (something I cannot explain very well).

My Purpose is, “To Live for God, making the most of each moment, loving and serving others as I go.”

My mission statement goes like this:

“I genuinely give life all I have and all I am.
I care deeply and intensely about each individual in my path.
I lead by example and am an example worth following.”

My chief aim is still a work in progress. It is supposed to be a short snippet that sums up the direction you want to go in life, or something like that -it is like your purpose summed up. So far, I have, “I live my life for God, serving him fearlessly in every area of my life.”  But I feel like that is too much like my purpose.

Then we were instructed to come up with how we were going to LIVE OUT our mission statement. Here is what I said:

I commit to life and individuals by doing the following:

I continually and completely Love God with all my heart, body, soul, mind, and strength, with enthusiasm and unfailing devotion.

I completely invest in my relationships and the direction they are going now.

I LOVE fully, deeply, with passion and emotional intelligence.

I am committed to enjoying life-altering relationships.

I push myself further beyond what I believe to be my “best self” every day and have integrity in this process.

Everybody fails. Everybody falters. But failing does not a failure make. Fail forward – which simply means to learn from your mistakes. Failure and mistakes make us fixer-uppers. (See this blog post: “Failure or Fixer-Upper”) Am I an example worth following? I do not know what others would say about me, but I feel like I do try to be such and my effort counts for something.

I will follow my purpose, mission statement, and chief aim to the best of my ability. I will be better today than I was yesterday and better tomorrow than I was today. I will grow and change every day for the better. This I commit to do consistently, but I also commit to extend myself grace and love to the extent that I know my Lord does.

So, in my transparency I say to you: Be your best. Do your best. But extend yourself grace. When you fall, get back up, dust off and hit it again, and again, and again.

There is a time and place for stopping something for various good reasons but when you find yourself making excuses for why you cannot do something that is a warning sign that you are giving up. At this point you must make a choice to let it go and give it up, or keep pushing on. There is a time and place for both.

I choose to hit it again and again until I am perfect, but extend myself grace. May you find it within yourself to do the same.

God bless you today and always.

Super Momma Maggie