Belief, Faith, Grief, Mindset

On The Edge of Nowhere

Where do I belong? Where should we go? Should we just buy an RV and travel from state to state? Those are questions, I ask myself almost daily. You see when Ethan was alive, we knew. We knew where we had to be and when. But now, we’re nomads. Anchored only to the belief that, if we live faithfully we will be reunited with our Ethan someday.

When I show up online, people see the bright shiny Angela doing her best to serve and inspire. What they don’t see is the pain, that still permeates my heart. Though it’s been nearly four months, I am still not okay that he is gone. I will likely never be.

I guess what I struggle so deeply with is the not knowing. Why he had to go and not me? Why am I still here to mourn the sweetest, purest heart that I was blessed to nurture and care for? What lessons does God want me to know? Why do I still not have the faith of Job? Why do I still not know where I belong?

I started the “75 Hard Challenge” on May 9, and knock on wood, I’ve been able to meet the challenge so far. But one of the things that I am learning or I guess I have had to face is the me looking back at me in the mirror. Truth is, this is a mental challenge and it has brought forth some hard truths. Number one, I am not in control, God is and He is the ultimate decision maker. For me to think otherwise is arrogant and rebellious. Two, He loves me and has only the best plan laid out for me as long as I listen to his voice and step out of the drivers seat and sit in the passengers seat where I belong.

Three, Job was not blessed abundantly because he did not sin, but because he never wavered in his belief that God was the giver of all that he had and that He would provide and was worthy of praise, no matter the circumstances. He just trusted and believed, even when he lost all of his children in one day! He grieved but did not stop trusting God. That is the lesson, right?

Just like Job, I may never know why God has allowed me to experience so much grief over the years. But what I do know is that, God has a plan for me, not one of evil, but a future and a hope. I just have to believe that He will and to live my life according to will and to seek His counsel daily.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” I Peter 5:10

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Nowhere

Grief

Lonely

I am lonely. There I said it. Not in the way that most people would think. I am lonely in the sense that the one constant that anchored me, my son is no longer here. I feel like a boat with no real direction or a place that I should be. No real sense of belonging.

Before I knew that Ethan he was a he, I knew that I was pregnant with a boy, I knew he was my son. I had dreams of all the things he would do and would eventually become and I was grateful. I was grateful that once again, I would be a mother. Two children to love and nurture. That would be a blessed life.

Even when he received a diagnosis of autism and later, epilepsy and PANDAS, and my dreams changed for him, I still knew that he would be here and whatever he would need, I’d in some way be able to provide. That’s part of a being a mother, right? I mean it never would have occurred to me that I was only meant to be his mom for a short time instead of a lifetime.

Most days I am fine since his death. But lately, I find myself sobbing before I drift off to sleep each night. I know that God is with me and He sees me. I am comforted daily by His loving hands, but it is in those moments that I miss Ethan the most. I miss his hugs, I miss his smiles, I miss his innocence and his unconditional love. I miss my boy, my only son. I miss being his person and holding his hand. I miss talking to him, though he could not talk back. I just miss him.

This is my new normal. This is my normal and what I must accept for the sake of my daughter. She missed so much of me when her brother was here and has grown up so much; but she still needs me. She needs me to teach her all of the things that I thought she would just pick up because I told her or showed her one or two times. Turns out she needed me too, she just didn’t ask because she knew that Ethan needed me more.

While I don’t understand, why Ethan had to go or why I still have to navigate my life without him, I will accept and be assured that Ethan is with God and is waiting for me to be reunited with him one day. That is my hope.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

Thank you Lord for allowing me to be Ethan’s mom for eleven years. I will always be grateful.

Always in Christ,

AngelaChristine

The three of us
Belief, Faith, Family, Holidays

Why I No Longer Celebrate Christmas

I’m sure that this post will come as a bit of a shock for most people who know me personally as well as those who read this blog, I will no longer be celebrating the holiday known as Christmas. My reasons are simple, there are no scriptural references to this holiday and two it is rooted in idolatry and not the gospel. Christmas was first celebrated in 336 AD, three hundred and three years after the church of Christ was established in Jerusalem. https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/301-600/the-1st-recorded-celebration-of-christmas-11629658.html

Sure, I celebrated Christmas as a child with my family. I have the fondest memories of Nana(my mother’s mother) coming over first thing in the morning to open gifts and have breakfast with us. I remember waking up before the sun came up just to see what was under the tree for me and to make sure that my brothers didn’t receive more than I did. Oh and of course there was Christmas dinner at my other grandmother’s house every Christmas evening, until we moved to Florida. So many beautiful memories are tied to that holiday. But when I shifted from child to adult, the real celebration was my mother’s birthday. She was actually born on December 25.

It’s been thirteen years since her death and the idea of celebrating another commercial holiday without her is just not something I am looking forward to. If you’ve read this far, you’re probably saying to yourself, what about your children, don’t you want to make the holiday special for them? Of course I would, but what made this holiday special for me and for others is the joy of family. They don’t have that. There is no family nearby to celebrate with. Not even close friends. There are no gifts from their grandfather, uncles or cousins to put under the tree. It is once again just us.

If I were to decorate the tree and plan out the day, the only people that would be present would be just us three. There will no gifts or invitations to celebrate the day. Always us. While I could create traditions of our own, what would be the point? Their only memories of the day they don’t have to celebrate would be of their mom stretching herself and running herself ragged just to place a few gifts under the tree. What would be different then about that day than any other day of the year?

So yes, we will create a new tradition and that it will always include spending time together, traveling and perhaps doing something that we have not done previously. It might even be a day of watching family movies and cooking and eating family meals that we prepared together. But it will not be spending like crazy on a day that has absolutely nothing to do with my salvation or theirs.

I will never criticize anyone for celebrating Christmas, because it is certainly a personal choice. But as for us, we will abstain and do something else. We will rejoice and be glad that Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for our sins and rose from the grave so that we might have salvation. And that is worth celebrating!

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Belief, Cancer, Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, Faith

Pride Is Not a Virtue

September 25, 2021

I am now four weeks post surgery and while I am feeling better and improving, I thought that now would be a good time to reflect on some very important lessons that I have learned along the way.

One, humbling yourself enough to admit that you can’t do it all is important. I went into this surgery believing that I would just need about a week of strict rest and then I’d be as good as new. Wrong! Turns out I needed more. Still need it, but that’s a conversation for another post. There is a reason that the Bible talks about pride in the way that it does. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18. Lesson learned here, don’t have so much pride that you are unwilling to ask for help. Check!

Two, people do really want to help and serve. I can honestly say that friends near and far have really tried to help me through this journey in ways that I never could have imagined. Tears still well up in my eyes when I think about it. Even accepting the help has been hard for me, why? Because I guess I didn’t believe that anyone would want to help me. Or that I even deserved it.

Even still as I am writing this post, one of my local mom friends is taking time out of her day to find me a respite person to give me relief from time to time. Guys, even that was something that I wouldn’t even do! Because again, that creepy thinking of I have to do it all myself keeps me from asking for help when I should.

I know that I am not perfect and never will be, but it is my hope to be more like Christ everyday. For the Bible says, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness with brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1: 5&6. While pride isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it certainly doesn’t meet the definition of virtuous.

As I continue this healing journey, it is my prayer that God will surgically remove more of that pride from my heart so that it might be replaced with humility.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Cancer, Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, Surgery

The Part That I Never Share

I debated writing this post because being vulnerable is excruciatingly difficult for me. Even within my inner circle, sharing a day in my life isn’t easy. Not because I can’t share or even that I don’t want to share, but in my mind it feels as though I am not handling “it” and to me that is an admission that I am failing.

But, it goes deeper. I never want to seem like I am complaining. Even when my mother died (who happened to be the closest person to me in the world, my sister in Christ and very best friend), I compartmentalized her death until the thing next to her death, I had ever experienced happened. My son’s first seizure at my dad’s wedding. The one person that I needed to hold me up wasn’t there so I collapsed to the floor, I’m a heap of tears, hearing my family calling my name, my dad praying over my son, but in those painful moments waiting for the ambulance to arrive to take us to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, I was in effect unresponsive. I had lost the ability to speak.

I had no idea at the time, what that was going to mean for my son and his future. But I can assure you, the years following have been anything but a cake walk.

Since that day, I have endured many more hospitalizations with my son, a big move, a divorce and most recently, cancer. People, like to say that, God will never put on you more than you can handle, but here is where I disagree. That statement is nowhere in the Bible, and two life has given me a whole lot that I haven’t handled… well. You see, I just compartmentalize and figure out how to do it myself, because if I don’t, I am a failure. By the way, that isn’t in the Bible either.

I guess, what I want you to know is in this moment, my life is hard, it is messy and today was not a very good day. Ethan’s nanny didn’t come because she was sick, the full moon last night set off seizures for Ethan and I tried to work (my job) and manage my son’s care while simultaneously trying to be mindful of my own recovery.

I am grateful for the daughter that I have, who has had to sacrifice more than any child her age ever should because were she not here, this day could have been far worse. Her presence kept both of us from going to the hospital today.

You’ve probably surmised by now, that my life is in no way conventional or sane. So, if anyone asks, this is why I want more than anything for my health and wellness business to grow. There is no job, that I could ever do that will ever accommodate the unpredictability of my life.

Growing in faith,

AngelaChristine

After bandages were removed- September 15
Belief, Faith, Mindset, Reflections

Another Hurdle

You know that one word, that most of us dread? Well, I got to hear it today. Turns out the lump on my leg is a rare type of cancer.

Well, I guess I can add it to my list of two broken bones, a concussion, two C-sections, autoimmunity and now cancer. But you know what I’ll never add to my list? Defeated, downtrodden or victim.

I am victorious in Christ Jesus, and just like every other challenge I’ve had to face, I will face this one with the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the almighty Jehovah.

With gratitude,
AngelaChristine

Faith, Family, Mindset, Parenting, Reflections, Sadness

Tears Come Sometimes

I sat in my van this afternoon and cried real tears. Not because of one thing or someone, but because I’ve been carrying weight that for most people would be too hard to carry. Sure, people admire me for what I do, they give me praise and pats on the back. In fact, just today a friend called me her hero. I don’t feel like anyone’s hero. Yesterday, another friend said something similar.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate being noticed and admired. But there are just times when I wish I could just hand off some of my responsibilities to someone else, not forever, but at least for a little while.

Perhaps my heart is a little heavier, because while speaking to a dear sister in Christ yesterday, I had to acknowledge that I have no plan B. It’s just God, me and my kids. I mean, if anything were to happen to me, I literally have no one in this world that I could leave my children with. This last year has taught me that. Maybe that is why the tears appeared and wouldn’t stop flowing. Even as I type this post, I feel a little teary eyed.

Life is funny in that way. At some point, you have to face the truth; our lives are truly a vapor and just like that can be gone.

So, when people ask me why I push myself so hard to build my health and wellness business, that’s easy, two words, Emily and Ethan. It is my plan ABCDEF and G. There is no greater industry than this one. It’s very foundation is love and service. God is the owner and I am merely his steward.

While I don’t always appreciate this journey, I thank God that he chose me. I thank him because he saw me and decided that I was worth saving even when I didn’t see myself as worth the trouble.

Today, was not one of my finest days, but it is far from being the worst. And if the Lord wills it, tomorrow will be another opportunity to grow closer to him and to improve upon what I got right today.

I will not give up and I will not fail. Emily and Ethan need me and I need them too.

With love,

AngelaChristine

American, Current Events, Faith, Mindset

One Year Later and We Are Still Here

March 17, 2020

I wrote the post below one year ago on Facebook. It seems bizarre to me that we’re still living as though the pandemic first hit and masks are still worn almost daily. When I wrote this, I never would have thought that one year later, not much would have changed. Praying that soon Americans will become brave enough to live free once again.

When I began this post, I thought to myself, I need to say something profound to make people feel better about our current circumstances, they need to know that they are loved and cared for and what doesn’t make sense now will at some point in the future. But then I realized that making people feel better is a tall order and is certainly not easy. Nor is it a request easily fulfilled. So, instead I’ve decided to share a verse that I take solace in everyday.

Keep in mind, I don’t have a crystal ball or magic wand. I know what separation and isolation feels like too. But I’ve decided (yes, me) not to live in fear or worry. Why? Because my God is not worried, He has my life and my children’s lives in His hands and He knows exactly what we need.

I will not deny the feelings of concern that many of you feel, your worry is valid. But know this, when you have done everything you can do to prepare for the unknown and uncertainty, let your mind embrace that fact. You have done your best! That is all you can every ask of yourself.

Friends, you are loved, you are cared for, you are prayed for everyday! I invite you to choose love, joy and peace as we journey through the unknown together. ❤️

Blessings!

AngelaChristine

Belief, Faith, Family, Love, Mindset, Parenting, Reflections

This Is Too Hard

The past two weeks have been extra tough. The fatigue that plagued me for several years came back a couple of weeks ago and hasn’t relented until today. Just to give a little context, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s on August 1, 2018, which was exactly one month before my husband at the time texted me to let me know that essentially our marriage was done. In spite of that, I have been able to manage it without medication. However, yesterday was the first time, I have ever considered going on medication due to level of exhaustion that I have been feeling.

I don’t recall there being a specific event or activity that happened that would have thrown me off, or caused me to feel this down, but something did happen to remind me that I am not invincible and I shouldn’t expect to do it all. Which sounds completely insane to me, when I have to do it all, because there is no one else to do what I do. Or perhaps, I’m expecting more than I should. Perhaps, it should be simpler.

This is the trick about growth, sometimes when you make the decision to elevate your life, you sometimes have to tap into areas that you may not want to tap into. When I started working with my Business Leadership Coach, I knew that I would have to tackle mindset and vision, but to go to places that I had never prepared to visit has been harder than I thought it would be.

I believe that I am in the land of limiting beliefs and instead of confronting those beliefs, I have allowed my brain to use the avoidance key, so that I don’t have to tackle what I know to be true and that awareness has manifested itself in the physical of overwhelming fatigue.

An overwhelming fatigue that was finally helped by my taking a walk with my daughter this afternoon. While I chatting with her, I realized that in order for her to do the hard stuff, I have to model it for her. When my mind wants to give me the option of avoidance, I have to conscientiously say no, otherwise nothing changes and my daughter will not understand the meaning of sticking with it, even when you think that you can’t.

While I still have more mind clearing to do, I am keenly aware of the eyes that are watching me. While I may get worn from time to time, it’s okay to allow my children the opportunity to see that I am fallible and that I am still learning too. I am learning to walk closer to Jesus and to leave my burdens with him. I am building my confidence by adjusting my habits and my expectations. I am giving myself grace when I fall a bit short and I have accepted that breaks are necessary to prevent the overwhelm and burnout.

My journey has only just begun and I will arrive where I am meant to be at precisely the right time.

With grace,

AngelaChristine

Cooking, Family, Homestead, Lifestyle, Mindset

Soup! Because I Love You

I truly enjoy cooking! Not to the level of opening a restaurant or a cafe, but to the level that I want to cook the best food that I can for those that I love. Fortunately, it’s something that I get to do everyday for my most favorite people on this planet, my children. Today was no different.

Much like many other areas in the country at the moment, we experienced a bit of unusually cold weather, for northwest Georgia. The low this morning was about 27 degrees Fahrenheit with a few snow flurries. It was so cold that my sliding doors on my minivan would not open until it was sufficiently warmed up. I believe the high was a sunny but cold 33 or 34 degrees. Yikes!

With the temperature hovering so low, it only made sense that our dinner would be some type of soup. Let me just say that soup, is my love language. I could absolutely eat soup year round! But what I love around this time of the year is the memories of my childhood that come flooding back when I am in the kitchen. I reminisce on how good it felt to eat at my grandmothers’ tables. I can almost smell all the smells and the joy I felt to when I was in their kitchens.

Both of my grandmothers were wonderful cooks. My dad’s mother, was more of an Iron Chef type cook. That woman could make the most amazing meals and so to us it was always a treat to eat at her home because you knew, no matter what it was, it would be delicious!! My Nana (my mother’s mother) on the other hand was a bit more straight forward with her cooking, her one signature dish was fried chicken. But her hugs and conversation was what drew you in. It saddens me that my children, have never experienced those moments. Perhaps one day, when I become a grandmother, I’ll be able to create in my grandchildren’s lives abundant and colorful memories of love.

Tonight, in honor of serving and all things winter, I decided to make my version of a minestrone soup minus the pasta and beans. What emerged was a flavorful burst of summer squash, chicken sausage, chopped tomatoes and a mixture of herbs that not only make the soup taste delicious, but are also good for you as well. Think, any boost I can give to my immune system, I am in!

Summer Winter Soup

The one drawback here is that I am not good about writing things down, because I never really know what is going to come together when I start, but today was an exception. Here is what I used:

One pound of mild chicken sausage (gluten free) with casing removed. One medium yellow onion, five cloves of garlic (fresh), three sticks of celery, and three carrots peeled and chopped. I sautéed that mixture together in my Instant Pot and once cooked through, I started layering in the spices.

Two teaspoons dried oregano, one teaspoon of thyme, one teaspoon of garlic powder, one half teaspoon of dried rosemary, one teaspoon of dried basil and one teaspoon of dried parsley. I then added in a box of chopped tomatoes, a bag of frozen yellow squash and two fresh peeled and chopped zucchini followed by two boxes of chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste! I then put on the lid and let it cook at pressure for about 20 minutes. It was a hit! And we still have plenty for lunch tomorrow.

If you find cooking challenging, start with soup. It’s probably the one meal that you can make that will turn out well, even when you don’t know what you’re doing. But more than that, you will create some lasting memories for the ones you love when you take the lid off that (instant) pot!

With love and soup!

AngelaChristine