You’re Not Who You Think You Are

Our thoughts can overtake and overcome us…

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This person is smarter than me.

I’m failing as a spouse.

This is too hard and I can’t do it. 

I’m not enough.

No one likes me.

See what I mean? We’ve all had these thoughts and we’ve all pretended not too. Often when things float in our minds, even for the briefest of moments, our gut reaction is to push it down and ignore it. We turn down our inner voice in favor of being comfortable and do our best to continue as we were. Problems ensue when this happens.

When you’re constantly suppressing hard emotions and difficult thoughts instead of investigating their root- they leak out into other areas of your life. Perhaps it looks like being short with someone when there’s no need to be. Or sometimes it can cause you to lash out and not tell the person you lashed out at why you’re upset.

Choosing to try to skate over our inner lives solves nothing and creates more difficulties.

This is something we all do. Our thoughts are our own. Beautiful, broken, and ugly they make up an inner dialogue that only we know exist and are privy to. It is time to start owning and leaning into the harsh things that we think. In doing this you open yourself up for growth.

Do not fear your interior life. Be ruthlessly honest and don’t edit how you’re thinking or feeling. Face your difficult emotions head on. Do this simply because hardship and inner trials are merely an invitation to grow.

Police, Car, and Life Lessons

I never thought when I woke up today that it would include a trip to the police station.12046861_735262312375_1689410754344088596_n

Matt and I stopped at the grocery store to get a few groceries and when we came back out we discovered our car had a hulk sized fist dent in the bumper. For a minute we stood there totally confused until it registered that someone had hit our car and left the scene of the accident.

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Reborn, Reshaped, and Remade

Often I reflect on the changes that have happened since leaving home for school at the age of 18. Like many who transition from the teen years to their twenties I experienced change in rapid succession from one event to the next.

There were many times felt as though I was in a boat without a paddle. FullSizeRender

Marriage, jobs, and two apartments later I found myself in a state of being reborn once again. I embarked on a journey in a new job. Instead of returning to work in special education with students that have EBD, I took a position as a director of marketing,

While the opportunity has been both a blessing and a challenge I find myself missing where I was this time last year.

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It’s about the Impact.

Too often we go through life caught on the ‘work’ wheel. We feel stuck in an immoveable pattern. It is hard to muster up the courage to stop doing what is familiar, and to hop out of the old situation into something new. It takes courage and fortitude of character to explore new territories and to get off of the wheel and travel down an unknown road.

What many don’t realize is that they are leaders, regardless of the circumstances in which they live daily. When the reality of leadership is understood the person in that role is able to make a difference. Serving others is the greatest example you could give. Taking care of other’s needs is of utmost import. What many don’t realize is that a life can be changed simply by taking a moment to listen when given the opportunity to do so.

Too often we live in the constant fear of not being ‘enough’. I want to tell you today that you are indeed enough. If you put your self worth in your beauty, intellect, status, or anything that is of fallible nature you will live in constant fear that what makes you will be what ends you. One’s worth stems from who they are when push comes to shove and how they treat others when no one is looking. Love even when it’s not earned.

Marks of the best leaders are those of humility and service. Leaders humble themselves to serve those who need them and what they have to share. What you do should never be about IMPRESSING others but rather should be about IMPACTING them. What you do matters. What you share with those with whom you come into contact has an impact.

As a leader where you’re at you have the power to breathe life into those you meet from the beautiful and terrible journey we are all on. Being there for others creates opportunity that allows the people touched by you to initiate and spark change. Take what you have and make it explode change into the lives of those with whom you share life.

If, on this journey, you’re feeling discouraged or tired: TELL someone. Let them serve you by listening. Rejuvenate and remember your purpose. Whatever the reason for the ‘Why’ keep that in the foremost of your mind and dwell on it daily. Doing so keeps perspective and helps you from feeling overcome or overwhelmed when things get hard. Set your goals based on that and RUN after it as fast and as hard as you possibly can. Remember: all of the power to make a change and to lead others is in you.

3 Years Ago Our Lives Were Changed and We Continue to Grow

A little over a week ago Matt and I were driving to dinner. We were stopped in traffic. I wondered what was taking so long when I looked over and it felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. My vision blackened, I saw orbs of light, nausea stirred within, and my heart rate spiked to an unhealthy speed. A girl in her mid twenties lay on the ground and there was a car stopped right in front of her. I knew instantly she had been hit while trying to cross the street. My feelings were brought on by the remembrance of my witnessing Matt’s accident three years prior.

Without fail, a week before this day, I experience signs of extreme anxiety. I now know how to deal with it so that it does not get out of hand. However, the first year after Matt’s accident I was told that I experienced PTSD from witnessing him getting hit by a car. I was shocked. It had taken an entire year for the nasty issue to rear its ugly head and to swing at my insides and mind with its fists that were full of fear.

The first incident of PTSD/anxiety landed me in the emergency room. Since I had had no past with mental health issues the hospital did not initially consider the possibility of a panic attack. The hospital staff thought that I was either having a heart attack or experiencing a pulmonary embolism. When my EKG was normal and my tests came back negative for a blood clot they informed me that I had most likely experienced a panic attack and sent me home. It happened again a few days later and I went to the doctor. The doctor put me into contact with a counselor on staff. After scheduling an appointment and speaking with that staff person, I was able to work through the issues that had cropped up from that time in our lives and I learned coping mechanisms.

You may be thinking that this is a lot to share on a social media platform. I am okay with sharing my experience for the reason that there are others out there who may need to know my experience to help get through one of their own.

Every single day I am grateful for the beautiful person that is my husband. I can truly say that I don’t know anyone as kind hearted, giving, and as positive as him. I can also say I don’t know what I would do without the great community of people that we have had the privilege of knowing. That community who surrounded us during that time, changed our lives.

My eyes are tearing up as I write this, thinking about all of you. You cannot make it through life without others beside you. The line of friend and family blurs when both are so closely joined even after times of struggle have passed.

When things in life occur that are catastrophic we have two choices. The first choice is to let that hardship tear you down and to lose who you are. The other choice is the one my amazing husband made. He took that difficulty and turned it into something that is beautiful and allowed it to refine him into a stronger person.

I am thankful for the moments and times in our lives when we are refined by fire. The process is painful, the healing painstaking, but the finished product worth the labor. My challenge to you is to not hide your struggles. Don’t bury them so deeply you cannot get passed them. Things seem worse when you keep them to yourself. They have the ability to twist and turn and to grow bigger than they actually have right to be. Reach out and  talk about what you’re going through so that this doesn’t happen. In turn, love on others around you.

Matt and I have been molded by the hands that reached out to love, embrace, and hold us up when we were too tired to keep going. Thank you so much to those who stood with us during that time. It simply cannot be expressed how much you changed our lives. You all know who you are.

So Cheers to 3 years of life, of love, strength, and courage. Cheers to many more of learning, growing, refining, and being refined. Life is audacious and we should follow its example.

Two Years Ago Today Our Lives Were Changed Forever.

Two years ago mundane things seemed abnormal. I remember the first time I left hospital four days after the accident. Stepping outside it took my eyes a while to adjust to the sunlight. Florescent lights had a way of lulling you into a state in which you forget the brightness of noonday sun. Matt’s dad had kindly asked me if I would like to leave so that I could go home and shower. Knowing it was needed I left Matt’s side, trying to not let worry get the best of me. Walking to my car the smell of antiseptic, sickness, and body odor offended people who were behind me. It was hard leaving Matt in the hospital, knowing I was free to go where I pleased. He had had no choice but to stay in the hospital. His two broken femurs, pelvis, and vertebrae made it so he could not move for a long time.

 

Looking back over the experience we went through it often feels as unreal and foreign as stepping outside of the hospital did that day. It is a memory that sometimes is distant and other moments is real in the present. Matt is the one of the strongest most vital people I’ve met.

 

After we moved to Rochester so he could re-learn how to walk I witnessed a tenacity in him that inspires me even now. Matt spent countless hours practicing transferring from his bed to his wheel chair. After he mastered the art of the transfer he was able to move to the physical therapy room where he could commence the journey to mobility once more. He worked hard and began to heal much quicker than the physical therapists had forecasted he would.

 

There were tears in our eyes the day he took his first steps after the accident. I stood there, watching him slide his walker along while slowly putting one foot in front of the other. He began to grow stronger. Discomfort is a great motivator to change the circumstances you are in.

 

Fast forward several months to the court room where we sat the day that the young man was sentenced for hitting my husband and running. I remember looking at the kid thinking he looked younger than my 17 year old brother. A mixture of compassion and anger welled up inside of me. We had no idea what that moment would be like.

 

What would it feel like to see the person who single handedly turned my husband’s life upside down?

 

The judge sentenced Tyler to 180 days in a work house with work and school leave. He then asked him what day would be most convenient for him to begin serving his time. In that moment, something inside of me fell. We were not given the choice of what day would be most convenient for our lives to be flipped inside out and upside down.

 

I could not understand why the judge would extend such a luxury to Tyler. He had ran for four months, evading arrests multiple times, only to turn himself in at the advice of his lawyer. We woke up the next morning to an article City Pages had written stating that, “Matt Call is Pissed about Tyler Braunschweig’s Light Hit and Run Sentence.” It was upsetting to see the media had printed an article without speaking with either one of us. We weren’t pleased with how things had been handled but we most certainly were not ‘pissed’ about his sentence.

 

There are days that I am still angry and there are days that I feel as though I have forgiven him. It’s a work in progress. We have chosen to forgive and to continue to move forward. We are grateful for the blessings we received in the midst of hardship. We are indebted to those who surrounded us. Friends, family, and strangers made it so that we could face what was ahead.

 

We had a choice of letting the experience tear us down or build and shape us to become stronger individuals. I admire my husband because everything that happened made him into a powerhouse of forgiveness and growth. Today is two years since the accident. We are not the same people we were two years ago. We are stronger. We trusted God to bring us through it and He did. I want to say thank you to everyone who stood by us and supported us. We value you.

I’m going to end with an excerpt from a piece I had written 20 days after Matt’s accident.

Travail-

Suffering, affliction, tribulation.

A work especially of painful or laborious nature.

A physical or mental exertion.

It is a word that is also associated with triumph.

Overcoming a circumstance wherein the midst of, joy is hard to find.

At the end of travail comes something beautiful.

Pain is not wasted.

Growth takes place.

It is a metamorphosis into a newly refined individual.

Though there is sorrow and days where we cry together, days where frustration threatens to take over, we know this is temporary. We serve a God who is bigger than this. We daily choose to forgive. We choose to not allow bitterness to take root. We will not be overcome.unnamedunnamed

20 Days- A new journey.

ImageMatt has been in the hospital twenty days. It feels as though I have forgotten what a regular day feels like. Activities such as grocery shopping, going to the bank, and swinging by a coffee shop to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee are foreign concepts. Even breathing the fresh air of the outdoors is a bit of a shock. I no longer notice the smells of rubbing alcohol and bleach.

June 27 seemed like any other day. I woke up that morning, swung by Urban Bean and enjoyed a cappuccino made by my red bearded giant before heading off to work. That evening I met him again there. I had no inkling of what was coming. We were headed to a specialty olive oil shop to taste olive oils and choose one for a dinner party that we had been invited to. I stood on the other side of the car waiting for him to unlock it so we could be on our way. The next few moments were a blur. Black vehicle made contact; Matt’s cries filled the air. These are noises I will never forget. Matt was my singular focus. Time slowed as I watched the events unfolding in front of me. His shirt ripped in two on impact. His head flew back and hit the vehicle as it pushed his pelvis and legs into his driver’s side door. The side view mirror went with him as he flew thirty feet through the air and landed on his stomach. Throwing my car keys and wallet, I ran. Yelling his name. Chucking my phone at a stranger I told them to call 911. Matt, who was in shock, was trying to use his arms to move around. I stopped his movements by stabilizing his head against my leg. He stilled instantly. I sobbed as the blood from his head ran onto my hand. He spat blood. People began asking him questions. What day is it? What’s your name? What intersection are we at? Matt answered. A small bit of relief filled me knowing that he was coherent enough in those moments to answer mundane questions. “Missy my legs hurt so much, my thighs… my legs…”   Police. Ambulance. A flurry of activity swirling around me. Bodies moving around in space, while I stood immobilized by the firm grip of an officer. As Matt was loaded onto the gurney, he called for me. I jerked my arm away and ran to him. “I love you.”   Twenty days. A new town. A new home. Every day since then has held something new. Words I had never used are now a part of my vocabulary. The names of various drugs come out of my mouth with the same ease as reading an item off of a dinner menu. Through all of this one word has entered my thoughts over and over. Travail. Suffering, affliction, tribulation. A work especially of painful or laborious nature. A physical or mental exertion. It is a word that is also associated with triumph. Overcoming a circumstance wherein the midst of, joy is hard to find. At the end of travail comes something beautiful. Pain is not wasted. Growth takes place. It is a metamorphosis into a newly refined individual. Though there is sorrow and days where we cry together, days where frustration threatens to take over, we know this is temporary. We serve a God who is bigger than this. We daily choose to forgive. We choose to not allow bitterness to take root. We will not be overcome.

Fight or Flight Instincts, Civil War Era Upright Basses, and Industrial Buildings

One time I was watching something on TV and it had a short section on the ‘Fight or Flight’ instinct that humans have. What I was watching said this instinct instilled in us is very similar to the natural instinct that animals have when a predator is coming. The difference between humans and animals is that animals flee even when there may not be danger because they are not worried about being impolite.

I experienced one of these situations last night. For those of you reading this later last night was Halloween. My boyfriend decided it would be a great idea to pursue an ad that was in Craigslist for an upright bass. The time to check out said Upright was set for t 10 o’clock on the dot that evening.

Matt brought his roommate Dave along for the adventure. In my mind, anytime you meet someone from Craigslist in order to buy, trade, or sell something there is a 12% chance that this person is crazy and intends to harm you. Don’t get me wrong, Craigslist can be great but after watching the Lifetime Movie, ‘The Craigslist Killer’ my imagination has a tendency to run away down paths that are Dexter-esque.

As we pulled up to the building where we were meeting the guy, Matt and Dave started laughing. Underneath the lights of a dimly lit street was an old industrial type building. It looked like something off of a horror movie.

The Man had asked us to meet him by the loading dock.

That’s right… the LOADING DOCK.

We circled the place for a bit and on one of our circles we noticed a large Vulks Wagon type vehicle pulling behind the building towards the ‘loading dock’. Matt put the car in gear and followed behind. As we were pulling up next to the car Matt called the guy we were meeting. Sure enough, the light coming from the phone in the Vulks Wagon lets us know it was him.

I look from Matt to Dave. And then again from Dave to Matt… I couldn’t decide if we were actually going to following this strange man who looked like a bucket of water and soap would do him a world of good. He motions for us to follow him and Matt does.

“Are you serious?!” I whispered to Dave in a sort of Flopsy Bunny Voice reserved only for times in which I am truly frightened.

He grinned, shrugged and began to imitate the primitive way the man was walking. He began leading the way through the old building.

In that moment I imagined a family sitting on their couch watching us through their TV screen. The kids, shrieking at us not to follow the man dressed in all black into the dark, creepy building. Of course, we wouldn’t hear them and proceed towards certain doom inside.

The Building had stained cement floors that melted into staircases and red doors that had been dented. I imagined the dents were from the people before us who had tried to escape from the man at the Loading Dock to look at a non existent Civil War Era Upright Bass. Stair cases melted together and red doors began to blur like fire. I was sure this was it for us.

We stopped abruptly outside a door. The odd man’s small, worn hands reached out, grasped the door knob, turned, and pushed open the door. Inside was a brightly lit wood working shop. At the end of one table was a fit man with light blonde hair and smart black glasses. He looked up and smiled at us.

“This is Carlos” the strange man said.

Needless to say everything was fine. The man really was selling a Civil War Era Upright Bass. It turns out he actually builds musical instruments and it had been brought into him to have it refinished. He didn’t want to put the work into it to do so. Matt decided not to get the bass because the bass looked like it had been through a war.

I’ve decided a few things after this excursion.

1)      Always bring a few friends when meeting someone from Craigslist.

2)      Meeting with strangers late at night, by a loading dock, on Halloween, in an old, abandoned looking Industrial building… 9 times out of 10 is NOT a good idea.

3)      Matt and Dave are either braver or not as smart as I thought they were.

4)      I will wait in the car next time… You know.. to call the police if I need to… or to act as a look out.

5)      Sometimes the best adventures are born out of fight or flight situations.

Words WORDS words Words….

Why can’t we love people even when they are being entirely stupid?

As humans it isn’t in our nature to love people unconditionally. Our actions, thoughts, the way we treat others who aren’t necessarily kind to us, is a huge reflection about what is going on inside our own hearts. One thing I’ve been thinking about is the power of words. Words have the ability to speak life or death into someone. I know that’s a strong statement but this statement actually comes from the Bible.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].”
Proverbs 18:21

 I think it is so important to encourage people around us. Often people live their lives from other people’s perspectives of them. It is not good live one’s life from someone elses point of view. That is why it is important to be intentional in the way we treat other people. You have the power to discourage or encourage someone.

James 3:6

“And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life…”

As you can see, the tongue really does determine a lot of things. It can be used either for evil or for good.   Something you say to someone could propel them towards a more positive direction or send them into a spiral away from the life they were called to live.

Words.

How you use them is your choice.

Anime’ Teddy Bears, El Salvador Espresso, and the Cello

I love crisp fall nights. There is just something nostalgic about peeking outside and seeing the ground look like a stained glass window.

Today was nice… Had coffee with my friend Jamie at Kopplins, got compared to an anime’ teddy bear that would lose in a fight…

There is a big difference between me and an Anime Teddy Bear.

Fact- Anime teddy bears have super powers and cannot wear shoes.

Fact- I do not have super powers but I can wear shoes and therefore it makes up for my lack of super hero powers that Anime’ Teddy Bears possess.

I may look kind and gentle and soft and have big blue eyes like an anime teddy bear but if I were in a fight unlike and anime’ teddy bear I would…

Run away .

Anime Teddy Bears couldn’t do this because they have short soft stubby legs and can’t wear shoes. I’m just saying, if the Anime’ Teddy Bear was trying to run away on a gravel road… It wouldn’t end well. BUT I can wear shoes… and I KNOW how to run on gravel since I was born and raised in North Dakota. Again, I MAY NOT have super powers but I have mad running on gravel road skills. It’s true.

MORE ABOUT MY DAY.

I had a fabulous shot of El Salvador Espresso from Dogwood Coffee… It tasted like All Spice to me… Which was different. It had a touch of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. I think? My pallet really isn’t as developed as it should be. I liked it though.

Also stopped in at Café Imports. I’m going to do a write up about their company and what they do. I am planning on shadowing Jamin.

Jamin is the quality control person. Basically, that means that he cups the coffees they get in and does some roasting. I’m pretty excited to see what I can learn.  THERE IS SO MUCH TO LEARN ABOUT COFEE!

One thing.

There was a bat tacked on the wall in a clear plastic baggie with Coffee beans coming out of his stomach… I guess Bat Digested coffee beans have a special flavor to them… Bat Juice… mmmm.

I’m pretty excited to graduate from College in MAY. I found out I have 8 credits left to finish up. I thought I had 18. My audit sheet got messed up. After we fixed it I was ecstatic to learn of my lessened credit load.

Which is pretty fantastic.

Four years of school… Finished. I’ve been debating about whether or not I want to get my masters in counseling. We will see. I LIKE picking people’s brains and sifting through their thoughts and listening to problems…

BUT

I’m not sure if that is what I want to do or not.

My 8 credits are… 3-A Monday Night Class that is about group dynamics. I hate working in groups. I do not work well in groups. Seriously. I end up doing all of the work in a group project.

3- My senior project. This is eat all of my life and my time. I want to write a collection of short stories geared toward adolescents. I was thinking all I will have to do is throw in a few vampires, werewolves, and the like and I’ll have a best seller on my hands.

Kidding… Most likely I will focus on an issue and write about it.

That is 6 of the 8. Which leaves 2 credits. I needed a 2 credit class. I could’ve easily taken a 3 credit class  but I didn’t want to pay an extra $559. I decided to take a 2 credit music lesson. I am not sure what instrument yet… I have always wanted to learn how to play the Cello and the bass… I’ve been looking on Craigslist for a cheap one. As far as bass goes, since my boyfriend is already an expert bassist I may just leave that one to him…We will see.

That’s the update for now.