Category Archives: Beliefs

Purpose in Life

            Your palms are sweating. Your heart is beating out of your chest. Your stomach is doing flip flops.

            “Sit down,” demanded your professor.

            Your professor has asked you to come to his office to speak to you.

            So, you obediently sit down on a chair while your mind is racing. Because you don’t know what you did to cause this meeting.

            You had just finished your first classes to be a teacher and your first observation in a classroom. You’re confused about what you did while in the class with the first and second graders.

            “When you shared your past, the rest of the class didn’t know how to talk to you afterward,” uttered my professor.

            And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;” Psalm 9:10

            I put my trust in the class when I shared my past with them. Now they didn’t trust the fact that they could just speak to me as though I’m a regular person.

            So, what about my past did I share with my class? I told them one of the reasons I became a teacher was because I had had been physically abused by my father. None of my teachers was my hero, while the whole ordeal was going on in my life. Perhaps I was going to be a kid’s hero. I knew that I wasn’t going to save all the children.

            Even though at that moment, I felt as though God had forsaken me. I couldn’t be my authentic self.

            “For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Psalm 9:10.

            For the next 20 years, I was very selective about who I told the story of my past because I thought I was going to be judged. Through it all, God stayed by my side, preparing me for his plans for me. He did not forsake me.

            It was not until my mom died in early October that I felt like I could be my authentic self. I knew that it was time to tell my story. God began to let me know his plans for me. It is up for me to believe him.

            “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 29: 11.

            Over the years, he has given me an inkling of what his plans are for me. He has whispered, “Write.”

            While I sleep, I dream of new towns with people I have never met.  When I wake up in the middle of the night and long car rides, I create blog posts in my mind never to recreate them when I’m awake. I invent stories about people I observe when I’m people watching while out and about.

            When I write, I often get caught up in the grammar and does it sound right which causes my writing to be stilted instead of being inspiring. (At least it does to me.) However, I need just to sit and write and later worry about revising and editing.

            “plans to prosper you and not harm you,” Jeremiah 29:11

            I’ve shared more of my writing in the last few months, along with the story of my life. Many people have been shocked when I tell them the truth since I’m becoming more authentic. They can’t really get to know me when I just say, “I’m okay.”

            It’s as though I’m being Instagram fake. My life may look as though it is “perfect” even though I’m walking through valleys right now. No one’s life is truly perfect. It’s messy, especially if you are truly living.

            Anywho which is one of my favorite words when I need to get back on track with my stories. Some of my stories have been shared with various people in my life. God has worked his magic by talking through those people. “Write. You need to write and share your stories.”

            “Your writing is going to help someone. Someone who you’ve never met and may never meet. It’s going to be your legacy. Listen to me,” God is saying through them.

            “Plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11

            Even though I’m trying to follow what the Lord is telling me to do,  there is still some self-doubt because of what I was told 22 years ago. “People don’t know how to talk to you after learning about your tragic past.”

            If I could talk to that professor, I would reply, “You talk to me like a person.”

            Just because I have suffered through circumstances that would make a person cry, it’s only part of my story. It does not define me. However, it is what makes up part of my personality and character.

            What the professor didn’t know was that the abuse made me a stronger person. While in my 20’s, I had the drive to graduate from college. I was bound and determined to be the first member of my family to earn my bachelor’s degree. I was working full-time at McDonald’s so that I could afford to go to college. I didn’t let that part of my story become an excuse. Instead it gave me a reason to be successful.

            My father had just died that past November, so I felt as though that weight had been lifted off my shoulder. Right before he died, I wanted to travel to Pittsburgh for the first time so that I could tell him, “You no longer have power over me.”

            Then a few months later, I’m told, “You can’t talk about your past.”

            Do not let someone have that kind of power of you that you feel like you can’t share your authentic self.

            God was only preparing the way for me. He was building the foundation for his real purpose for my life. He already knew the plans for my life. It was not to be the season of my life for him to reveal his plan for my life. He was only laying down the foundation.

            To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven;” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Kindness Matters

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12

On the morning/early afternoon, I found my mom had died, I went on my weekly grocery shopping trip. I needed things to be “normal.”

As I checked out, I mentioned to the cashier that she wouldn’t see my mom anymore. Then I explained the circumstances. She recognized both of us.

Her name was Brittany. She told me that she wanted to give me a hug. So, we hugged in the middle of Aldi’s. An Aldi that was ruined by a tornado 4.5 months earlier and had been reopened for only 2 months.

I just cried on her shoulder for a minute or so. Kindness is a beautiful and beautiful phenomenon.

The last few times I’ve been back to Aldi, she has either been on a break or not working that day, so I haven’t been able to say thank you for her kindness.

Update November 25 – I went to Aldi’s to get a few items. Brittany was working yesterday. After paying for my food, I thanked her for her kindness. She gave me another hugged and told me that she was praying for me and will continue to pray for me. She even asked me how I was doing and she couldn’t imagine what I was going through.

Two days after Mom’s funeral, I went to church. Neither boy nor Hubby were with me, so I was alone. I was nervous as I walked into the church and sat in my usual seat in the back of the sanctuary.

The sermon that day was about the troubles we have in life. Those troubles can help others when they come to you with your problems. You will have empathy, which is so important.

Again, I went on a tangent. As I sat there, one of the people in the church came and sat by me. She rubbed my back as tears rolled down my face. Then she whispered I didn’t want you to sit here alone.

One of my coworkers made me cookies because she knew that I needed some extra love. They knew I needed kindness because everything was falling apart in my life. So sweet and it made me feel as though I mattered.

Have a magical day,
Traci

Isaiah 41: 11-14

A present that I got for myself was a new journaling Bible. God has been giving me strength during this difficult season of my life.

As I said, I went back to Sweet Blessings scripture writing plan at the beginning of this month. Oldest was going through his first break up so I needed to know how to give him encouragement.

After the death of my mom, I went on a hiatus of reading/ writing the scriptures. I’m now back.

My take away with this verse is that really you can’t please everyone. God will take care of those who oppose you. I’m not talking about physical harm but sometimes he’ll remove them from your life. You don’t know they conversations they are having about you so why should they be in your life. Don’t worry about them. Don’t allow them to take up residence in your brain.

I know as being flesh and bone humans we can’t always help letting people take up residence in our head. We need to pray to God with our worries. He’ll take them from you.

I’m dealing with that right now. I know of a few people who oppose me because of me trying to help them in a way they thought was threatening. It was more of me telling them I’ve been there. I know what it felt like being the one who was not favored. Please break that cycle. It’s not healthy. I was also trying to make sure one of their loved ones got some help because they were threatening self harm.

Even though I am left wondering why don’t they like me, I need to let it go. They don’t know me and my story. Only God and I know the story and my intentions.

To be honest, when I bear witness to this situation, people who do know me are so confused because I’m known for being kind and caring.

Until next time,

Have a magical day,
Traci

Psalms 118:24

       The day after my mom’s death, my aunt and I went to the funeral home. Afterwards, we made memories. We visited Aullwood Garden and just talked. Then I took her to my 2 favorite places in the city – Wegerzyn Garden and Second Street Market. Places I had gone with my mom.

       While at the Second Street Market, we stopped at the one stall to get my cousin a charm. I saw that the charms in this stall were mostly Christian based.

       It was at that moment I decided I needed something to remind me that even with all this chaos in my life that I needed to rejoice that I’m still alive.

       At first, I got this huge bracelet and charm but realized that it would be too much of a bother, so I returned it for a much smaller charm and chain.

       So, what was on the charm that I needed it to remind me to rejoice in the day? It was the name of a book in the Bible with the chapter and verse. No other words.

       The charm says Psalm 118: 24 which reads “This is the day the Lord has made.

We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

       So simple but also so perfect.

       That Bible verse has been a favorite of mine for almost 30 years.

       In 1990, my youth group decided to go on a mission trip to the Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati. Not a good place to be for preteens and teenagers.

       I was 15 years old. Still very naïve about the world because this was before Internet. We learned from word of mouth or experiencing the world.

       Everything had bars on the windows. Doors were constantly locked. No one went anywhere without an adult. It was serious business.

       Anyway, I remember painting in some hallway and singing the song that is reference to that song “This is the day that the Lord hath made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. And be glad in it,” on repeat.

       That was the moment that that verse began to define my world. Now did I always rejoice every day. No, my next chapter of my life, college years, was not without trouble. I didn’t always rejoice every day. However, it is a verse that has constantly been by my side no matter if I have forgotten it at that moment.

       So now, I have a bracelet with a charm with a simple message. Find something to rejoice about during the day whether small or big. For example, yesterday I could rejoice that I got to see the beautiful leaves as Hubby, and I took a walk through the woods. Or today when an angry child calmed down because I was acting silly. Those are moments that I need to rejoice.

       My path right now is rough. It’s full of rocks and sharp thorns. However, I can look for some beauty along the way.

Have a magical day,
Traci

I Granted Her Mercy

          Three years ago, and almost 2 months ago, my life changed. It was dinner time. We were getting ready to eat so that we could go to see Weird Al Yankovic.

       My phone rang and I saw that it was my mom. I didn’t always answer the phone when she called. I would usually wait until later. We weren’t that close and spoke maybe every couple of weeks. I hadn’t seen her in 2 months at that point.

       When she called back, I knew I needed to answer the phone. That’s when she told me that my sister had died. However, she didn’t want me to come out to Brookville until the next day.

       It was not until the Brookville Police called me and said you need to come out right now. I took the longest time getting there. Meanwhile one of my co-workers kept talking with me to make sure I knew I was not alone.

       Once I picked my mom up that night, I had two choices. Either I could let anger take over my life or I could grant her mercy. God told me the path I needed to take was mercy.

       I first called my mother-in-law and told her that we needed to make sure she had the essentials, so she was comfortable.

       Then she moved in with us for the next almost 2 months. My grieving for my sister was done in secret – at night when everyone was asleep or on the way to work. I didn’t want to fall apart for her sake.

       After she moved into her apartment, we would get together for shopping trips, family Sunday dinners, and church on Sundays. We became closer but never truly close. She was never one I could truly confide my deepest secrets or dreams. That was never the foundation of our relationship.

       I’m so glad to have those 3 years together. We went on many adventures from seeing the fall leaves last year to going on one last mother-daughter trip down to Berea, KY in 2017. She discovered hummus, caramel macchiatos, and sparkling water. I showed her that life is an adventure. You don’t just float down a river until you die. Sometimes you just have to go out and discover what life has for you.

       I also required her to go back to church. I told her that she was not going to live at my house without attending church. Within 3 months of my sister’s death, she was once again a member of a church which was something that she enjoyed attending every week.

       Her face lit up with our many adventures. It’s not going to be the same when I go on some of these adventures alone. But I know she’ll be looking down from Heaven smiling at her fiercely independent and stubborn daughter who has endured so much in her life. So much that people don’t realize I have had to find the strength within to survive.

       I got those 3 years of cherished memories all because I granted her one thing, she needed in her life which was mercy. I had to put aside my hurt feelings to make sure she lived her best life.

       I’m sure God is saying, well done Traci. You have done well and followed the Commandment – Honor your mother and father.

       Good-bye mom, I hope you appreciated the love I gave you these last 3 years. All of your imaginary boyfriends are mourning your loss.

Have a magical day,
Traci

If I Had Stayed IN Bed

I wish I would have stayed in bed.

Some days are like that.

Lately, it seems as though those are more and more days like that.

However, it is usually moments that are fleeting. Not the entire day.

Today was one of those days.

Listening to my son rant and rage about how he is feeling about the whole breakup has broken my heart. He usually has a kind soul who loves life.

I put on P!nk’s Hurts 2B Human album and played the song Hurts 2B Human on repeat and just bawled my eyes out on the way to work. I was a truly hot mess when I got there this morning.

I did listen to a few other songs but I played that song about 5 times.

I encountered some really stupid drivers on the way to school so that didn’t help. One of which pulled over in my lane and slowed way down so that he could get into the other lane so he could get off at the next exit. Luckily there was enough space between us so I could safely slow down.

Four of my co-workers allowed me to rant about the situation because I needed to get it off my chest before the students came in for the day.

Then the day started. I got hugs from students. One in particular gave me a hug several times throughout the day.

I escorted a student to class because he couldn’t figure out how to be sneaky so he wasn’t caught by me, the hallway patrol.

I had some good intervention sessions. In fact, I had some awesome ones. Then there were the ones where I am left in bewilderment on how disrespectful the students can be to each other and me. The one group sees me twice on Wednesdays so they made up for their not so good session. I don’t know why they were so bad during math intervention.

Listening to students get excited about what we were reading made my day. I had students asking questions and wanting to know more and other students using context clues. Those make an Intervention Specialist’s heart soar.

A student decided she needed to hang onto me as I was trying to lock my door. She has no concept of personal space.

During dismissal time, one of my students from last year showed up at the building. I got to talk to her and her mom for a while. It was such a sweet conversation. I love how she asked me if I had traveled anywhere lately.

I also found Swt. Blessings scripture plan for this month. It’s about finding comfort in God. I read today’s Scripture from 2 Corinthians 4: 7 – 9. It gave me comfort during this time.

So although at the beginning of the day and at moments throughout the day I felt as though I wish I had stayed in bed, I would not have had the beautiful parts of the day.

The sunrise today – So gorgeous!
One of my former students posted this today on Facebook. It popped up in my notifications. What a great message.

Have a magical day,
Traci

Reflection on 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.

9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

Right now, we are dealing with the Oldest’s first break up. We are perplexed to the reason(s) why. Even though, we are feeling despair. Him more than me. Mine is more my heart breaking for him. I need to remember that God will comfort me. I need to not feel the despair. He will always be my comforter. I need to take my troubles to him in Prayer.

Dear Lord, Please shroud me with your blanket of comfort. Allow me to know that what I’m feeling is human feelings. It’s fleeting. It’s only a small blip in my life. I need to remember to lift up my burdens to you instead of allowing them to overpower my thoughts. Please offer the Oldest and I comfort. Him so that he can remain strong during this time of confusion and heart break. Comfort me so I can give him the best advice. In Jesus name, Traci

Remembering Tanya on the One Year Anniversary of her Death

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my sister’s death.  I honored her memory by releasing a balloon at a local park.

I went to a local park to release the balloon instead of at her grave.  When I go to the Wegerzyn Gardens, I feel a lot of peace.  The gardens are absolutely gorgeous.

 

The forecast was for thunderstorms all day.  So I did not get the balloon until I was on my way from work.  Even though we did have some rain during the day, it was only overcast while I was at the park.  Luck was on my side.

Thank you for sharing in my special private moment.

Have a magical day,
Traci

P.S.  Tell your loved ones that you love them.  Tomorrow is not promised.

The Night My Life Changed FOREVER

Warning:  This blog post is going to be raw and real.  It’s difficult for me to type up but necessary.

Some of the details are going to be a little blurry.

August 28, 2016 was a regular Sunday.  I had church in the morning.  Then we were going to eat dinner at my mother-in-law’s house.  I had cooked balsamic pork roast for our dinner.  After dinner, the boys and I were going to go to see a Weird Al concert.  The Wee One had been to his first concert.  This was going to be the Imaginative One’s first concert.

My phone rang.  When I saw it was my mom, I decided to wait to call her back since we were going to sit down and eat.  Then my phone rang for a second time.  It was her.  I knew it must be important since she immediately called me for a second time.

I answered it.  That’s when she told me that Tanya had died.  I remember walking into my mother-in-law’s family room and sinking into her maroon chair after getting off the phone.  My body was numb and I might have yelled No.  No.  Hubby ran into the living room to comfort me as I tried to say the words that Tanya had died.

I was so numb.

My niece walked in from a Christian concert so bubbly and talking a mile a minute.  I remember someone telling her that what had happened.

I remember sitting on my mother-in-law’s rocking couch calling my best friend, Angie, to tell her that Tanya had died.  Then I went outside to the front area of the house to call my friend Molly.  While I was on the phone, the police from where my mother and sister lived called me.  They told me to get over to my mother’s house as soon as possible.

I remember sitting down and attempting to eat some of the dinner I cooked but not being able to.  I know I took a roll with me since I had to drive to their town.

Before I left, I wrote a vague Facebook update asking for prayers.  I didn’t want to put it out that Tanya had died until I got a hold of my aunt.

I took the longest way possible to my mom’s house.  It should have taken 45 minutes at the most.  Instead it took me close to an hour or longer to get there.

One of my co-workers kept in contact with me to make sure I had support while I was driving to my mom’s.

Once I got there, my mom looked as though she had aged 20 years.  She seemed so frail and fragile.  It was so sad.

(There is more to the story from the time I was at her apartment.  I don’t want to share it now.  Maybe I will share the rest of the story later.)

Mom was going to go home with me and stay with me until we could get her a new place that was closer to my house.

We went and got gas from the local Speedway.  I called my mother-in-law when I went inside to go to the bathroom.  She went to get some new clothes for my mom to make sure she was comfortable after the events from the day.

We drove home.  Suddenly I noticed rain clouds so we got off the highway and drove the side streets the rest of the way.  We needed to stop twice because it was raining so hard that I could not see the road.  In my grief stricken mood, I should not be driving when it was raining so hard.

After we stopped the second time, we drove through Wright State University’s campus.  I remember seeing a doe while we were stopped at the stop sign.

Finally we got home.  My mother-in-law showed up with the clothes.  Mom took a bath.

I walked into my garage and tried to call my aunt.  I was finally able to get a hold of her.  She made plans to come to Ohio to help support us.

I never ate that roll.  My blood sugar ended up tanking out in the middle of the night.

That night began the daily can’t sleep all night for the majority of the month of September.  I had to sleep with my stuffed Pumbaa from the Disney College Programs so that I could get any sleep.

My life changed that night.  For almost 39 years, I was a big sister.  Now I am an only child.

Tanya now visits me as a Monarch butterfly instead of me calling her on the phone.  I will forever miss her.

Dear God,

Please grant me peace as I remember Tanya’s life on Monday.  Grant me peace when I go and celebrate her 40th birthday next week.

In Jesus’ name,
Traci

Traci

P.S.  The boys did go to the concert.  In my haze, I got a hold of one of their friends.  We offered my ticket to him for free.  It ended up being his 14th birthday present from us.  He became a Weird Al fan after the concert.