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Like Water for Love

where love flows like water & water is life

Letters to Heaven

“I never got to say goodbye…”

 
Those few words are a heart breaking statement that has been made by so many. Whether it be an unexpected death, the death of someone whose distance was too far, an expected loss when you just couldn’t find the words, we all know the pain of losing someone we were never able to say goodbye to. Death is hard no matter what, but when we lack the closure of exchanged words with our loved one, closure can seem even further away.I have a few stories I could tell you about when I didn’t get to say goodbye, but today, I want to share with you about my friend Ray Ray.

Ray was a family friend and a brother in arms to my husband. I’ve met many of the men my husband served with and while I consider each of them heroes, if you were to ask me who was who, it would be hard for me to tell you. Ray was different.

Dear Ray:
I bet your sitting up in Heaven right now, standing out among the rest of the angels with a brand new Seahawks jersey, hanging out with the brothers who went before you. You’ve probably met Shane by now, I never got to meet him, but I know the two of you will become quick friends. You both share a common bond in love and support for my husband. I’ll never forget that night I was sleeping and I woke up to hear him on the phone with you, I was so mad because I was sure the person he missed was some girl. Such an unbreakable bond between soldiers who became brothers through war. A brother to my husband, though I never told you, you were family to me as well. There was never an event or holiday celebrated that I didn’t make sure he had invited you. I always enjoyed having you around, even if you did threaten to set fire to my Steelers blanket every time you come over. You were great with our kids, especially the oldest, I know he misses you a lot. And, you were a great dad to your kids. So many times I asked what you were up to and it seemed like you were always at one of your sons games, no matter how far you had to travel. When you, C and the kids went to Monster Trucks last year, your little boy was so sweet to my baby boy, even though he is older than him. The pictures were so sweet and the way your boy took care of mine shows what a great dad you were. I know you probably never planned on being a grandpa so young, but when your daughter told you she was pregnant, you kept on loving her and welcomed that granddaughter with open arms. I am so happy you get to meet her before you left us. Full of jokes, you were always keeping us entertained, but your eyes told a different story, they showed me your heart. I have always believed that eyes are the windows to ones soul, any one can fake a smile, but eyes, they don’t lie. I saw a sadness in your eyes, much like the one I have seen in the eyes of so many veterans, but, you were more than your sadness to. From just the briefest of conversations with you, I saw the man you were striving to be, a man I think you always were, a man that got lost along the way and it broke my heart. I regret the times  you reached out to me and I didn’t know how to respond, I had the words, but I suppose I was afraid. It’s not often one of C’s friends ever spoke to me when we weren’t together and it took me by surprise, even though I know he wanted us to be able to talk, I couldn’t get past the fear of building a relationship with a man who wasn’t my husband. I’m sorry for that, I know you are up in Heaven, and maybe God will give you this letter. I hope you know how proud I am of you, for making the choice to get help, for being so strong and reaching three months! I know that if you were still here with us, we’d be celebrating a year in September. It brings me peace knowing that your faith was so strong in your final days. As I finish this letter, a smile crosses my face, as I see you up there in Heaven. You’ve made a comfy couch out of clouds, the perfect spot to watch your son play ball, your daughter become an adult and your granddaughter grow up. And from now on, you’ll have all the chicken parm you could ever want and the best view ever of the Seahawks game!!

Writing this has inspired me to ask for your “Letter to Heaven” I would love to gather several of these letters and turn them into a book, whose proceeds would be donated to families like Ray’s who cannot afford the cost of their loved ones funeral. Whether it’s a letter to family, a friend, an unborn child, I want to hear your story and with your permission, I want to share your story, not only to help others financially, but to help others find that closure which they might not find otherwise. If you could leave your “Letter to Heaven” in the comments, or send it to my email at, likewaterforlove@gmail.com I would very much appreciate it.

Also, I would like to share with you the GoFundMe page my family and I have started for Ray’s family. You can read more about Ray and the situation with his family in the link below. Any donations, shares and prayers would be so greatly appreciated.

Ray’s GoFundMe

Thank you.

Don’t Judge a Person by Their Vote – True Confessions of a Trump Supporter 

In the weeks since the election I have been called many things. I’ve been called racist, homophobic and sexist. I’ve been told I am contributing to rape culture and that I have no respect for myself as a woman. I’ve been called an ignorant, uneducated gun loving hick. I’ve been told I hate Muslims and I’m anti-Religious. I’ve been told that I don’t love my country and I don’t care about people. I’ve been told that in general, I’m a judgmental, bad person who is filled with nothing but hate. And, I’ve lost friends. All because I filled in the box next to Donald Trump’s name and made the choice to be vocal about that choice because I refuse to allow others to shame me for making the choice I believe was right for my family and our country. I do not believe I am any of the things I’ve been called lately and while I tell you why at the end of this post. Fist, I have decided to share with you some of my political views. You can feel free to judge me based on these, I don’t mind…

I am gun rights and pro conceal carry. I believe in the rights of every legal citizen of the United States (given they are legally allowed to own a gun) to own, use and conceal carry guns. I am also pro gun control and I believe that we need stricter gun laws, including tighter background checks, closing the loophole and requiring each person who purchases a gun to take and pass a gun safety course, similar driver’s license requirements. Finally, I do not believe in gun free zones.

I am pro first amendment. I believe that our soldiers and veterans have fought and continue to fight for our freedoms and that freedom is one of the things that make America the great country it is. I support the rights to speak freely, protest peacefully and for each and every person to feel safe in expressing their own opinions. I personally believe in standing for the National Anthem, saying the Pledge of Allegiance and respecting our flag, however, this is a free country and while I don’t agree with the choice, I don’t believe in taking away the rights of Americans to sit for the anthem or disrespect our flag.

I am pro border control. I do support legal immigration into the United States, from any country, however, we do need to take the proper steps to ensure that those immigrating are doing so legally and have been properly vetted, including criminal background and terror watch list checks. I do support deporting illegal immigrants who have felony records, records for crimes involving; drug distribution, sex or domestic violence, and any who are now or have ever been on the terror watch list.

I am pro military and believe that sometime war is necessary. Regardless of the reason we go to war, I will always 100% support  our troops and our veterans.

I support tax reform. I believe our government needs to help rebuild the middle class.

I am anti Obama care. I do believe in healthcare reform, however, our current healthcare system is not working.

I am pro welfare system reform. I believe in helping those who truly need help and are unable to work, but I do not feel my tax dollars should go to support able-bodied individuals who simply do not want to work.

By now, you’re probably thinking I must be a Republican. However I don’t consider myself Republican or Democrat, right wing or left wing, conservative or liberal. I do have some conservative beliefs, yet, particularly when it comes to people, I tend to be more liberal.

I am personally pro-life, however, I support Roe v Wade and politically, I am pro-choice. I do believe that there needs to be restrictions on abortion, making it illegal after the first trimester and limiting late term abortions to instances of death of the mother. Outside of those restrictions, I believe that abortion is a personal choice and not a political one and I hope one day our government will realize this. I do think that many of our pro-life politicians have their hearts in the right places, but, it’s just not a choice for them to make for others based on their personal or religious beliefs.

I am pro LGBTQ rights. I support your right to have children, marry who you want and to use the restroom of your choice. Love is love.

Those are the big things, feel free to ask about anything else. Now, to respond to the judgment that’s been passed on me (and many other Trump supporters).

I’m not a racist. I don’t care what you look like or what color your skin is. I believe God created all people and that all lives matter.

I’m not homophobic. Like I said above, I’m pro gay rights. Love is love.

I’m not a sexist. I believe that God created men and women equal.

I don’t beleive that I contributed to rape culture by voting for Donald Trump. I’m also not offended by “locker room talk.” I do not believe that means I don’t respect myself as a woman any more than the fact that I didn’t vote for Hillary does. I am proud to be a woman, God’s beautiful bride.

 I’m not ignorant and uneducated. Also, I take no offense to being called a gun loving hick. 
I don’t hate any religion. I am a Christian. You are free to believe in whatever you want to believe in and worship however you want. That being said, I don’t believe it is ever ok to use your religion as an excuse to hurt anyone.

I shouldn’t have to tell anyone how much I love America at this point.

Or how much I love all people. As a Christian, I beleive the greatest thing God calls us to do is love. And love I do – regardless of race, religion, gender, politics, beleifs, opinions or whether or not you agree with me. And I like to think that makes me a good person regardless of who I voted for. 

Tonight, I Cry for America

I know a lot of you out there are sad tonight.

I’m sad too, though it’s probably for different reasons.

I’m sad because today is Veterans Day. We have so many men and women who have fought for this country, for our country. We are America. The land of the free. To me, it is a privilege to live here and I am deeply saddened when I hear someone say they want to move out of the country because they aren’t happy with our President elect. You want to leave the country that gives you the right to do what so many of you are doing right, peacefully protesting? I’m sorry you’re sad. I understand that you’re angry. But, we are privileged to live here, we are free to live here and nobody is forcing you to stay. Today, more than ever, our veterans deserve to hear the words, thank you, not America is no longer good enough.

I’m sad because while I respect the rights our First Amendment gives us to speak freely and hold peaceful, lawful protest, much of what I am seeing around America is a far cry from peaceful. These riots are spreading hate and causing fear, the very things protesters are saying they are fighting against. I want everyone to feel like their voices are being heard, but I also don’t want to be scared to travel to certain parts of my state. I don’t want to spend nights waiting for my husband to come home to our family because his path home is being blocked.

I am sad because I have so much more to say but I a typing this with tears in my eyes because I am so sad for America and I don’t want to be, yet tonight, I cry.

Oh, I’m Sorry, Did Something Offend You?

My first thought when I saw these weights at an assisted living facility? If this were made today, people would be offended.
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How dare a company make a set of dumbbells that a super lightweight and call them, gasp, LADY bells? The makers of these dumbbells are obviously sexist, anti-feminist men who think women can’t be strong
.

I hope you read that last part humorously, you’re voice dripping in sarcasm.

I seriously feel like a day can’t go by without seeing an article about something being offensive. A slogan on a shirt at Target. A toy marketed towards girls that is only sold in pink. A blue toy for a boy. A costume that is racist. Someone posted a naked selfie. Someone else won’t stand during the National Anthem.

Enough already!!

This is America (well that’s where I’m writing this from) and in America we’ve got freedom. The freedom to stand. And the freedom not to stand. Freedom of speech. And the freedom to not buy, not listen to, not look at…the freedom to walk away from the things we don’t agree with.

There are a lot of things I don’t agree with, but, if those things don’t affect me then oh well, to each their own.

Seriously.

If you don’t like that shirt, don’t buy it.
If you don’t like costume, where something different.
If you don’t agree with someones form of protest, don’t during them.
And if you don’t like naked selfies, stop following Kim K.

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Social Media, Clothes and Locker Chandeliers.

No, really, locker chandeliers. That’s a thing now. They also sell locker rugs, ya know, so you can have a soft place to put your dirty gym shoes.

But really, convincing my daughter it isn’t reasonable to spend $100 on locker decorations is the least of my problems with middle school.

My daughter will be 11 tomorrow (she started school when she was 4 so she is young for her class) and she just started her first year of middle school. I try to be open with the things I let her wear and do because I know that in middle school things like what you wear and how your style your hair matter, even though they shouldn’t.

She doesn’t have a phone, but that is because I allowed her to have one and she proved she wasn’t ready. She does have a Kindle and so far she hasn’t lost that privilege.

However, there are some things it seems like all of her friends have that I won’t let her have. Some of these things are things she will never have (at least not until she has her own money or she stops growing). Things like Uggs and Birkenstocks… Idk about you, but I don’t see putting $200 into shoes that won’t fit her next year and would probably be ruined before then anyways.

But, there are some other things I could let her have but I am stuck between how I feel about this things.

These things are leggings (if you have followed my blog for a while,  you know my thoughts on leggings) and Instagram.

Let’s start with leggings. I don’t wear them. I will sometimes where sporty leggings (thicker one that aren’t see through and tight enough to show my labia) when I work out at home but I never wear those thin, black, one size fits all things that show off the inner workings of what’s between my legs and the color of my underwear. There are many reasons behind this. I have a post titled, Judge Me By My Clothing , you can read more about this there. I have  nothing against leggings for other people, in fact, they make for super cute outfits, but as for my household, I don’t feel they are appropriate. I have taught my daughter that it doesn’t matter what you look like and that she is beautiful  no matter what. And she has always believed that. However now that she is in middle school, clothes matter to her more than they used to. My husband and I had spent time talking to her about leggings throughout the summer and we had all agreed that she would not wear them unless they were under a dress, shirt long enough to cover her butt or shorts. But, school has started and many of her friends wear leggings and she wants to wear leggings as pants too. So, now I am stuck between wanting her to feel like she fits in and having her not dress in a way I feel is inappropriate. The thing about it is, right now, I know that her body isn’t developed, and really, there is  nothing that a pair of leggings is showing off. However, she is maturing and eventually those leggings will be showing off her body and I feel like it is better to start the habit of not wearing them now than in the future when it is a bigger deal. I bought her a pair of skinny, black jeggings. That’s what I wear and I thought it was a decent compromise, but it’s not what her friends are wearing so she doesn’t like them now.

And then there is Instagram. I myself just started one and it is the only social media I have. I keep it private, it’s not in my name and I am only friends with people I know. If my daughter were to have an Instagram, I would keep hers the same way and I would have her password. Most of her friends have one and some of them she follows through my page. Part of me thinks that Insta is innocent enough and that if I keep it how I mentioned above that it would be something fun for her to do with her friends. I also feel like it is a way for us to explore social media together so that when she is older and has more freedom, she will have a good set of rules for how to use social media and what not to do. However, the other part of me worries about what she will find when I’m not right there with her and also who  might  find her (namely her birth dad which would not be a good situation) Plus, it just seems like 11 is so young for social media.

Any one out there have experience with these things. I’d love opinions from moms and teens too. Please share with my what you think. And don’t worry, I’m not easily offended… I know my views on clothing aren’t always popular.

Thank You for Your Service

I work in a building that houses a VA Outpatient clinic so I see vets quite often. I always take the time to thank each veteran I come in contact with through the day for their service. Often times, they will say thank you and move on. Some will stop and shake my hand and ask me if anyone I know served. But, more often than not, they look at me with questions in their eyes, often having to do a double take and think about what I just said as if it were something they don’t here often. Each time this happens I am filled with a deep sadness that these men and women who gave so much for our country hear a word of thanks so little that it surprises them when they do.

Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe it isn’t normal to see a veteran and thank them for their service. Maybe to most people, seeing someone with a veterans hat, patches or vet plates isn’t enough to say, “this person served” and I should acknowledge that. To me, when it is obvious the person standing in front of me is a veteran, it is proper to thank them for their service. And when it’s not obvious, when they are simply wearing military branded gear, I often feel compelled to ask them if they served. They most generally did or know someone who did and at that point, I thank them for their service or offer my thanks to their loved one who did serve.

Maybe I feel strongly about this because my husband is a veteran. So is my grandpa, my uncles ans several of my cousins. Maybe I feel this way because I love my country and I appreciate all that are willing to give up their everything to fight for it. Maybe it’s because I grew up in small town America where everyone flies an American flag, supports our troops and stands with their hands over their hearts when they hear our National Anthem played before every event big and small.

I don’t live in that small town any more and it’s times like this, when I see our veterans go unappreciated, our flags burned and people texting during the National Anthem that I really detest the values this blue state holds.

I can see this is on its way to turning into a political post and that’s not what I intended this to be about. This is about thanking our veterans. It’s about taking a minute to recognize all that they gave up. It’s about giving respect to a person who fought for this country, who fought for your rights, past and present.

Regardless of your political views, your thoughts about war or this great country, *America; our veterans, our soldiers, they fight for you, whether you appreciate it or not. So, next time you are walking down the street, a free citizen, and you see a man or woman who fought to keep you that way, thank them, because no veteran should ever be surprised to hear the words,

Thank you for the service to our country!

*Please don’t think I think any different of any soldiers/veterans from other countries. It is simply that I live in America and I blog about only what I know. Veterans and soldiers from all countries deserve respect so long as they are fighting for the good of their people and not against them.

What Type of Christian Am I?

Came across this gem in my drafts so figured I’d finish it and hopefully let this be my start to getting back to blogging.

Recently I was asked the question, “what type of Christian are you?” At first, I was like, what kind of question is that? I’m the human kind?! I guess my quick answer is simply that I’m a Christian who believes in Jesus and in living like Him by loving others.

Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall back asleep. I kept thinking about this question. About this blog that I’ve not been posting to and the people I’ve come to know through it. I thought about the post where I wrote about being a bad Christian and my thought was this…

I’m the type of Christian that is liked by  non believers and disliked by many Christians. 

As I type that, it doesn’t feel right to feel that way, but so often I do. So often, I feel judged by other believers because of the simplicity of my belief system.

I believe in the basics, in a God who sent his only Son to die on the cross for us so that we can be forgiven and live forever in Heaven. I believe the Holy Spirit is always with us. But beyond that, my beliefs, my “rules,” for being a Christian are really quite simple.
Love others the way Jesus loves us. Love fully and love without borders. Do not judge others, but respect them. Even when you do not agree with a persons decisions, remember, they too are a child of God and no child is more important than another in His eyes. Live and do right, if you sin, realize we are broken and it’s OK to make a mistake, talk to God about it, make Him your number one, He is the end all, be all, everything that matters. So that’s it – Be loving. Be giving. Be kind. Pray often. Praise Him and spread His love to all.

The part of that which I’m often made to feel I’m wrong for by other believers I’ve met is the, don’t judge part. While non-believers have told me that my openness and willingness to accept and love regardless of ones choices and beliefs is what draws them into me, it’s what makes them listen to my stories or read my blogs about a God they don’t believe in, some believers have told me I’m not being a Christian when I allow someone I know to live in sin and say nothing about it.

I don’t believe this is true. I do believe that if I am in a friendship with another person who is also a Christian that I am called to help them live fruitful lives in Jesus Christ. It is o.k. and expected of me to help them stay of the path of faithfulness. However, if I have a friend who is not a follower, I am not called to hold them to the same standards as I hold my Christian friends. It is not o.k. for me to call my friend out on their “sin” if they do not believe in God and therefore cannot be held to my belief system.

At the same time, it is o.k. for me to be friends with non-believers. It is o.k. for me to accept their beliefs as their beliefs. While I feel that it is my duty to bring others to God, I know that it is not my place to push my beliefs on people I know don’t want to hear them. I have friends who are non-believers, I have friends who are atheist. They are wonderful people with good hearts. Do I want them to become believers? Of’course. When Jesus comes back, I want them to be right there next to me living forever in His kingdom. Do I force my beliefs on them? Absolutely not. Would I share my faith with them if they asked? Absolutely. But, until they ask, I simply continue to pray for them, that they will find their way to God and that if it’s in His plans that I be a part of that journey.

I wonder if this is the answer that person had in mind when they asked me what type of Christian I was? Maybe they just meant what denomination I was? I started this post several months ago so I honestly don’t remember what answer I gave them. If someone asked me that right now, I’d likely tell them, “the kind that loves God. Why what type of Christian are you?” It’s a weird question to ask really, but I guess it did make me think a lot.

Anyways, it felt good to finish this piece and start writing again. I do hope this will encourage me to start blogging again. Gave the blog a bit of an update. One day in church the phrase “like water for love” hit me and it has been on my heart since to change the blog name and start writing again. I’ll post soon about what the phrase means to me. Til then, I’ll be catching up on the blogs I’ve been missing.

With Love, From, Your Body

One day, Heaven will come down and meet Earth and on that day, every person will be seen for what is in their hearts, and that day will be perfect, because that is what is meant to be.

Unfortunately, until that day comes, we live in a world that is broken in which people are all too often judged by what is seen on the outside. I was talking to a friend today about people being judgmental towards her based on her weight. It breaks my heart to see beautiful women made to feel ugly and ashamed because someone else isn’t comfortable with the way they look.

 

Put a skinny girl on the cover of a magazine and we’re setting an unrealistic image for women. Put a big girl on the cover of a magazine and we’re encourage women to be overweight. To me, that sounds like a bunch of nonsense and garbage. About as much garbage as it is that we, as women, are our own worst enemies. In a time where feminism is running strong and women are fighting to be treated as equals to men, it’s us as women who are making other women feel bad about the way they look.

I’m a skinny fat, I’ve got a small frame with a chubby belly because it’s the only place I gain weight. I’ve recently started working out and I can tell you this, it has been only women who have attempted to make me feel bad about my decision to become healthier. Just as it has always been women who have attempted to shame my body. Newsflash women – if we want men to respect our bodies we should probably start by respecting each others.

One of the most beautiful things about women is that we come in all different shapes, sizes and colors, each one of unique and special in our own wonderful way. How we choose to dress our shapes, how we choose to mold are shapes, that is up to each of us and is for nobody else to decide. How I look doesn’t affect you and how you look doesn’t affect me. As women, we need to love and respect that other women are who they are and we need to encourage one another to be who we are with no apologies. What matters is that you are happy with yourself and your body.

Ladies, surround yourself with people who don’t just accept you for who you are, surround yourself with people who celebrate who you are. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you to be you, unapologetically.

Gotta Put Out the Fire!

It’s just before midnight and I am filled with a sudden desire to post something. 

I’m so busy lately I don’t find the time to post. I have three unfinished posts sitting in draft mode and I lack the energy to complete them. 

I lay here listening to my three year old telling my a story about eyeballs sitting on a couch, silently willing him to sleep, knowing it won’t happen anytime soon. 

I find myself unsatisfied working and lacking the time to blog yet just as I was unsatisfied when I wasn’t working and had plenty of time to blog. 

I know that I need to take more time to spend in quiet with my Heavenly Father, growing in relationship with Him. Allowing myself to discover how my passions pair with the gifts He has given me and letting Him lead my way. 

So much easier said than typed. Giving up control, fully. I feel like I’m standing on one side of the water and the bridge has collapsed leaving me no easy way across, yet happiness lies on the other side and God is showing me a way across that while isn’t easy, is worth it. All I need to do is let go of all the things hold of me back and take His way. I know He will bring me safely to the other side, so why can’t I just let Him take me there?

I was just hit with the words, “I’m slowly burning God’s bridge and I don’t know how to stop.”

Time to put away the phone and pray. 

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