moms to motorcycles

Celebrating the little things in life through struggles, hardships, and challenges with God, kids, motorcycles, and everything in between!

Overcoming the Darkness

Why can’t I get past this darkness?  Why do I have to struggle so much with these emotions?  Why can’t I be free from depression?  Why do I have to think so much?

This barrage of questions started early this morning….

Last night I got an invitation for today to go to a breakfast brunch with a group of my used-to-be bible study women.  Used-to-be, as in…before baby. I immediately got excited to get to have some much-needed fellowship and these ladies are a wonderful group to be involved with.

So, this morning I get up, get the kids off to school, get dressed in a nice shirt and jewelry, put on my make-up, and sit down to wait for the little guy to wake up.  That’s when it all started!  I start thinking…and the thoughts just take off!  “Maybe I should change my clothes.  I look fat.”  “Maybe I shouldn’t wear jewelry.  It looks like I’m trying too hard.”  “It’s raining out.  I like to be home on rainy days.”  “Maybe I should let the little guy sleep.”  “Maybe I shouldn’t go.”  Aaaahhhh!  Just go!  I get up, grab the little guy, and head out the door.

As I’m driving the 15 minutes into town, what little excitement I had, turns to trepidation.  It was all I could do to not turn the car around and head back home.

I pull up to the house after driving around to make sure I wasn’t the first one to arrive and head to the door.  I ring the door bell only to be met with a surprised hostess.  She wasn’t expecting me.  I hear from behind her the one who invited me say, “I’m sorry, I forgot to tell her that you were coming.”  I walk into the kitchen to see that the bar was set for just five places which meant there wasn’t enough room for me.  A hurry to get all of the place settings from the bar to the table entails, plus one.

We sit down to enjoy a wonderful breakfast.  My little guy enjoys the food very much as he sits on someone else’s lap and I feed him.  All is going well.  Then the part I have been looking forward to starts… the camaraderie, the fellowship…the talking.  This is also when the “Tornado” starts. My little guy, Mr. F-5, the measurement of an incredibly powerful tornado with winds up to 300 mph, starts his trail of destruction.  The home we are in is very ornately decorated with breakables everywhere!  A tornado’s favorite!  Needless to say, I become a storm chaser.  Long story short, after about 30 minutes, I head out the door towards home.

When I get in the car, the tears start to fall.  “Why, why, why, why, why?”  “I shouldn’t have gone.”  The picture of everyone sitting around the table laughing, talking, and enjoying one another’s company with me on the outskirts looking in, keeps popping into my head.  “I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to do this anymore.” Then I hear these words playing on the car stereo…

“We will overcome. By the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. Everyone OVERCOME….”

I know this is meant for me. My dear sweet Jesus…

The darkness starts to fade….

“…All authority. Victory is yours.”

The Light shines through.

I arrive home with a new resolve. I can and WILL overcome this darkness…one day at a time. With Jesus’s help, I can beat this!

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go assess the damage materializing before my very eyes! The “Storm” is raging on, but…in my own ransacked home.

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Lunch Date

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“So good to see you today!! I love you to the moon and back!!”

Yesterday I had a lunch date with my best girl friend. We get to see each other maybe once a month and usually always at the same place…a quaint little cafe in my hometown where literally EVERYONE knows your name.  We don’t do much on our lunch dates. We talk, laugh, and many times, we cry.

My dear friend, Sharon, and I have been friends for about twenty years.  In those twenty years, our lives have changed so drastically but our friendship has held strong. We have been through ups and downs and everything in between together and believe it or not, we are exact opposites:

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I’ve had three kids. She’s struggled with infertility, three miscarriages, and has adopted one beautiful baby girl. I’ve been up and down in weight and she’s struggled with anorexia. I’m the artsy, comfy, and laid back girl. She’s the popular, cheerleader, athletic type. I live for the winter season so I can justify staying indoors. She longs for the summer so she can spend her days outdoors.  I struggle to get up in the mornings and I put my make up on ONLY when heading into town.  She gets up before every one in her household to work out, puts her lipstick on, and looks like she’s headed out for a night on the town all before I’ve had my morning coffee.

There is not one thing that should keep our friendship going…except one…our mutual love for Jesus.

Proverbs 18:19–Do a favor and win a friend forever; nothing can untie that bond. (The Message)

Ecclesiastes 4:12–By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. (The Message)

In the last few years, Sharon and I have both suffered through depression, hardships, and heartaches.  I’ve had times when I needed someone so desperately that I couldn’t hardly function.  Never fail, Sharon would send me a text letting me know that she was thinking and praying for me.  A true friend is one who sticks with you even in your darkest of days.

I’ve had times when life just seemed so utterly busy that I couldn’t remember which day it was and that usually meant too much time in between phone calls to my dear friend.  I’ve feared that she would be upset because I hadn’t even had time to say “hello”.  Never once has she condemned me for it.  She’s still there.  Waiting…but not fearing.

Over the years, I’ve had friends leave me because they didn’t want to mess with what I was going through. They didn’t have time for me.

Proverbs 18:24–One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Sharon has never left me.

Yesterday, at the cafe, Sharon looked me in the eye, started crying, and told me that she would not know what she would do if anything ever happened to me.  I’ve only had two other people tell me that…my mom and my husband.  How  could I be so blessed to have such a loyal, devoted friend?  I’m so unworthy, yet she sees worth in me.  And I will always treasure the gift she’s given me through all these years…her undying friendship and love!

The picture on top is from clear back in 1994 with our husbands and the quote underneath is what she sent to me after our lunch date yesterday. The other is a picture of Sharon and her daughter.

He’s the One!

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He’s the one who has all of the traits if I were to make a list of the perfect man.

He’s the one that every woman dreams of but I get to have.

He’s the one that loves me unconditionally despite my never-ending flaws.

He’s the one that when I’m having a bad day, he always asks “what’s wrong?”

He’s the one that leans in close to hear me say, “nothing” and brushes a kiss against my cheek.

He’s the one that grabs my waist with his strong work-worn hands and pulls me in close.

He’s the one that holds me tight when the tears start to flow.

He’s the one I melt into and share all of my fears with.

He’s the one that stays when so much should make him leave.

He’s the one that I still long for, live for, and dream about even after twenty years of marriage.

He’s the one. The only one. And thank God he’s mine.

18 years.JPG Valentines Day 2011

Let me tell you a bit more about my husband:

 My husband still gets asked how he can have a teenage daughter when he only looks 25. 🙂

When he turned 40, he achieved his own personal goal of being in the best shape of his life.

He cooks.  He cleans.  He’s organized.  Yes, it’s true!

He is the best daddy in the world!  He cherishes time with his family and never takes it for granted.

He can do absolutely anything he sets his mind to.

He introduces me to everybody as his “beautiful wife”.

My husband has put up with so much in the 24 years we have spent together, AND he still calls me his best friend.

Just Breathe

IMG_4901      Breathe…in…out…in…out…breathe.  Seems simple doesn’t it?  To…just breathe.  God made it so our bodies will automatically breathe without our intentional thought…without having to tell ourselves to breathe in and out…to breathe that life-giving breath.

In 2002, I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression and PTSD (Post traumatic Stress Disorder) and a Panic Disorder Without Agoraphobia.   What this all means is that I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that causes my depression.  Also some traumatic event in my life has caused me to endure flashbacks and severe stress which is the PTSD.  (This is also a disorder that a lot of military veterans are diagnosed with after coming back from war, and let me just say right now that whatever I have went through in my life will never compare with what our military men have endured.)  The third thing, the panic disorder without agoraphobia, means that my body will start to panic or have a panic attack when confronted with certain things in my life.  The “without agoraphobia” just means that I can go outside or open spaces without fear or panic.

When I have a panic attack, my whole world spins out of control.  I can’t breathe. I can’t think. Sometimes I start to choke due to lack of breath.  I get weak and shake uncontrollably.  More often than not, I have severe chest pains, and I have literally passed out before.  Seems silly, doesn’t it?  I wish it were just silliness, but it’s a very real thing.  I have to literally tell myself to breathe…to calm down…breathe in…breathe out….in…out…

I have a charm bracelet that I cherish very much with all of my interests hanging from it.  One of the charms is just a little flat silver oval that says “breathe” and a tiny brown stone hangs from the bottom.  Believe it or not, I have had to hold onto this charm to remind myself to breathe.  To breathe.  To breathe.  And admittedly, that tiny little charm has helped me keep a level head, because if you can control your breathing, you can come out of an attack a little easier.

One time I was in therapy talking through an extremely bad part of my life with the therapist and I felt like the room was getting smaller.  The room was caving in and everything was getting fuzzy and black around the edges.  I knew I was panicking and I wanted to run.  I had never panicked in front of anyone but my husband before.  I reached down and grabbed my bracelet charm and just the feel of something solid reminded me to breathe and exhale.  The room went back to its original size.  I had found something to calm me and I realized that sometimes we do just need a physical reminder to take in oxygen and not hold our breath.

The God-given gift of breathing has to have a reminder…ironic isn’t it?  But it’s true. To those of us who suffer with anxiety…it’s very true.

Genesis 2:7

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Wall of Fear

Fear of Failure. Fear of the Unknown. Fear of Death. Fear of Spiders, Heights, Clowns, etc. Absolutely everyone has some sort of fear. Just by saying this, I know it evokes an imagery in your brain of your worst fear.  I could talk about my “fear” of clowns right here (brought on by Stephen King’s IT), but there is something that can and sometimes will be more debilitating than just a fear of a big red nose and gnarly hair.  I have a “Wall of Fear”.  This “Wall” prevents me from doing numerous activities, projects, etc.  I sometimes think that “Wall” prevents me from success.

So…what do I mean by this?  Well, it’s like me starting my blog.  I have so many ideas in my head that are conjured up by only God himself, but I just can’t drive myself to sit down and pound out another page.  I hit the “Wall”.  I have a fear of the possibility of this getting big, a fear of it not getting big, a fear of saying something I shouldn’t, a fear of saying something I should, and so on and so forth.  The Wall.  I’ve quit doing some very important projects just because I have run smack dab into that Wall.

So…what do you do now?  If you have ever suffered from depression, you know that even the most anticipated activities in your life become dreaded and more often than not, something you don’t even show up for because…of your depression.  If you continue to do this, your life turns into nothing but a hole…a deep, dark hole.  So one of the hardest things we have to do with depression is to…just…go.  Do it!  Make an effort.  Sometimes a huge effort is needed, but nonetheless…make that effort!  I have literally had to force myself (or my husband has) to get ready to go somewhere with tears (and fears) and physically pull myself to standing to get going.

So…this is what I have to do with the Wall of Fear.  Physically, mentally, and yes, spiritually fight through it, over it, or around it…whatever gets me there.  Over that wall.  The hardest part is starting.  The rest gets easier.  And sometimes the rest is so enjoyable that you wonder why in the world you allowed something to ever get in your way!  Just like the walls of Jericho, the wall will come tumbling down!  Thank God!  THE WALL will become…the wall.  Instead of climbing breathlessly over it, you will be able to just step over it, then you will turn around and see that it truly never was a wall.  It was just a stupid stumbling block put there to tear you down one brick at a time.

Riding to be Free

My first bike

What does it take for you to feel free?  Truly free?  Well…what is freedom anyway?

For me, freedom means contentment.  Freedom means peace…true inner peace.  Freedom is that feeling of being able to breathe without thinking about the “what ifs”.

One of my most treasured pleasures, besides my kids and Billy, is riding a motorcycle.  I started riding at the end of the summer in 2008.  By the following summer in 2009, my husband and I went on my first road trip that was approximately 1800 miles round trip to visit my family.

My first bike was a beautiful cherry red 1992 Kawasaki that my husband rebuilt.  I was so proud of that bike.  She was mine!  She was also very light in the Kansas wind, so needless to say, I got whipped around quite a bit, but I digress.

My second bike was a Harley.  A 1993 Harley Sportster that rode like a bucking bronco.  By the time you rode 20 miles down the road, your hands were bright red and itching like you’d just grabbed a handful of stinging nettle.  But wow, was that a different feeling of raw power…a Harley.  On a Sportster, you ride the bike.  You have to concentrate to control the bike.  It’s hard to explain unless you have ridden before.  This was also the bike I rode those grueling 1800 miles (with some major breaks in between).

My third bike…yes, my third bike, was and is a 2005 Harley Dyna Superglide Custom.  She’s deep red and chromed out and rides down the road like the wind blowing through the trees.  True freedom.  You get on and kick her into high gear and….leave all your worries behind.  Ride into the wind.  Forget your struggles.  Live…and…breathe……Sound cliche?  Well….anyone who owns and actually rides their Harley can tell you that riding is the best therapy you can get.  Wind therapy.  Road therapy.  Not one person can bother you, complain to you, rag on you when you are on your bike…It’s just you, your bike, and God!  If you only knew how often I sang at the top of my lungs “hallelujah’s” to the Lord!

My answer to all of the women, and men, for that matter, who “just need a break” or are headed to a deep, dark depression because of their inability to “just breathe” is ride…ride like the wind.  Everything will still be there when you get back.  The bickering, yelling, arguing, whining, and neverending work will still be there.  Yep.  And I’m so glad, because they are my family and I love them with all of my being.  But sometimes…I just need a break.  A motorcycle break….

Oh the joys…

In my first post, I commented that my hubby had an emergency appendectomy.  Well, it wouldn’t have been an emergency if he would have listened to his own mother…or his wife (that would be me)….but no…he waited, like most men I know.  Anyways, we head to the ER on a warm Sunday morning.  Did I mention he was suppose to preach for our pastor who was on vacation that week?  No?  Yep…he was doing the church service.  Well, that went out the window along with a lot of other things.

We quickly tell our other two kids that we are leaving, load up the little guy, strap him into the car seat, and my hubby…ok, his name is Billy…gets into the driver seat. Yep.  He drives himself to the ER!  After a long hour of driving, we get into the room and as I sit down to await the terrible news, my ornery boy promptly stands on my lap and pushes the CODE BLUE button!  AH!   A great start to an already fabulous day.  Thank the Lord he wasn’t strong enough to push it totally in.  No rushing nurses or doctors this time for a false alarm.

As the day progresses, we get the devastating news that yes, it is his appendix, and yes, he will have surgery.  Stage left…I go to change the little guy in the bathroom only to find that he has pooped clear up his back and neck.  Well, guess what?  Didn’t think to grab that extra pair of clothes “in…case…of…emergency.”  I promptly drive to the local Walmart and purchase clothes, socks, more diapers, and wipes seeing as how I used up what I had to give him a “bath”.  Just imagine the looks I received walking in with a naked baby only wearing his coat and a diaper.  Oh well, if you are a mother, you understand.

Oh the joys…

Try keeping a several month old boy busy while waiting several hours for surgery, recovery, and eventually time in a hospital room.  Needless to say, my other two kids took care of mom the rest of the evening once we arrived home.

My kids. My miracles

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I am a mother of three beautiful children.  Each one of them are miracles from God.  I’m not just saying this like any other parent.  They are true miracles.  I wasn’t suppose to have babies.  But, long story short, here they are!  Our oldest, our only daughter, was such a true blessing!  The one that proved that God was sovereign and that He didn’t need man telling Him that something wasn’t possible. Our first son, the middle child, our second miracle, in more ways than one.  Even with an uneventful pregnancy with him, we nearly lost him at birth.  That story is a whole other blog.  Then SEVERAL years later our second son, our go getter!  I’m older and more tired, but God gives me the strength to keep up.  I think…

So, this is what I tell myself on days like this where I just want to tear my hair out and scream.  That my kids are miracles.  Why then, do I feel like giving up sometimes?  Does there need to be a particular reason why?  Just because…I’m tired.

Just one week ago, my dear husband had an emergency appendectomy.  That was the first time in our twenty years of marriage that I have seen him in a hospital bed.  I am the unhealthy one who has pushed the “in sickness and in health” from our marriage vows to it’s ultimate test!  Not my husband!  I was panicked.  What would I do without him?  What would I do if he didn’t make it?  How could I possibly raise our kids without him?  Wow!  What a scare!  But here it is seven days later, and he’s back to work. Yep, already.  He’s strong and determined. And God showed me that He is still in control.

Now what? I guess I sit here and wait for my little guy to wake up and the chase will begin again.

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