For Blake

Together

I took a walk today
during lunch
which reminded me of you.
Of us
our walks
and how things used to be
when we were young
unwed
and without child.
When we paid no mind
to how things could change
in an instant.
We walked
alone
together
for miles,
discussing and planning
our future
together.
We knew we could do good
in the world
together.
We didn’t know
where it would take us-
Costa Rica?
Spain?
New Zealand?
But we knew
we belonged
together.
We dreamed of
our life
as husband and wife
and only good things
to come
for us
together.
We knew
there would be children,
not how many,
not when,
but that we would raise them
together.
And the time has come
for these things are now true
I love believing it.
Because nothing before
had been as good
as you and me
together.
Advertisements

Beautifully Clean

¬†I have so many thoughts that I want to share with you, but they keep getting interrupted and I keep getting lost and then I get bits and pieces and it’s just UGHHHH – my brain is a jumbled mess right now!!! But I’m going to try to clear it up and get these thoughts out so that Katelynn can read it. Thanks, Katelynn, for holding me accountable.

I really struggle with originality. I read Glennon’s blog daily and I just watched several of her interviews and I think, “she has already done everything I want to do! She has already said everything I want to say!” I started my blog after reading some of hers, and I often fear that I’m writing the same basic things: be brave, be kind, be real; grow, learn, and prosper…etc. I worry that I read what she writes, and then just regergitate it back onto another blog and call it my own. How can I make a difference if I’m just copying someone else? I guess this blog is my entire “Me too,” Glennon. Maybe the stories shared here will help those who haven’t been over to Momastery.

When I feel like quitting, God gives me a little reminder. Like Katelynn mentioning yesterday, which was ONLY WEDNESDAY, that I hadn’t posted ALL WEEK. That’s when it feels like I must be doing something right. So, as Glennon says, I’m showing up again.

“Instead of pretending life is not messy, we should find the beauty in the mess.” – Guess who?

This is why I write. I am tired of pretending life isn’t messy, that my relationships aren’t messy. It is, and they are. Okay, but what about the beauty? The beauty comes from getting messy. It’s kind of like when I need to clean out William’s closet. At first things look fine, because they’re all tucked away on shelves or hidden in bins, and things seem neat. But those clothes need to be donated. In order for me to donate them, and clear out the baggage in the closet, I have to bring them all out. I have to sort through them, one at a time, and put them in various piles. Donate pile, done-for pile, buy-back pile. After a few minutes, things look REALLY messy. Because in order to deal with the mess, you have to bring it all out of the closet. You sort through it, you decide what to do with each pile, and eventually, you can bag it up and carry it off, to have that neat, clean closet again.

In order to get to the beauty, you have to bring things out of the closet.

It usually doesn’t stay this way long, but my closet is clean for now, and it’s beautiful.

I’ve been talking a lot lately about my struggle with understanding addiction and the addicts in my life. It hasn’t all been prettily wrapped with a perfect bow on top, and sometimes that makes people uncomfortable. But it’s part of our life, our story, and it’s real. I say “our” and not “my” because these little demons – addiction, shame, anger, etc. – are everywhere. It doesn’t take long to see that; just go sit in traffic! I’ve recently learned that keeping these demons inside not only makes me feel extremely alone, but it’s a much harder struggle when I try to do that. This blog has allowed me to open up my struggles for others to see that we do not have to suffer alone. And when people reach out to me, I feel that I’ve created a tiny community that provides warmth, love, and hope. And we can grow together through our struggles. (This is why I welcome you to share your stories here, too. Please email me if you’d like to be a guest blogger on here! Britt(dot)mcmanus88(at)gmail(dot)com.)

Last week was a pretty rough week. And the week before that was, too. And the week before that. I’ve found it’s pretty easy to write when my emotions are bubbling at the surface and I feel like I might cry any second. That’s when I am most passionate, and that’s what makes for good writing. It’s when you write what you truly believe in. What good is writing when there is no feeling behind it? Also, it takes a huge load off to give it away. It’s like giving it to God, for all to see. Look, everyone: if you give it away, it can’t hurt you. You should give your burden away, too!

This week, however, has been different. It’s like Struggle shrunk away for a while, and I’m soaking up every single bit of Joy that has replaced it. I’m feeling delightful, which makes me a little nervous. It’s like I have SO much to be thankful for, that I have no idea how to thank God enough. I almost feel painful when I pray because I can’t say “thank You” enough, even if I say it 15 times, I still feel ungrateful. Also, when things are so good, I don’t know what else to say to God except “thank you,” so I feel a little disconnected. “Trust your Struggle” – because it brings you closer to God. I have no idea what to do right now. Struggle has diminished, so what do I do? What am I supposed to work on? What’s my project this week, God? I suppose it’s just working on thankfulness.

And chores. Ugh.

It’s most appropriate that Big Struggle has left, because now we have little struggle. William hasn’t been feeling the greatest for about a week now, on top of growing out of infancy…so night time has not been fun. He’s super clingy (nothing new), super tired, whiny, and now, uncooperative. I find myself having to trick him into almost everything. Eating, changing, brushing teeth, …ohhh man. I’m tired just thinking about what’s to come tonight.

Thank You, God, for taking away Big Struggle just in time. I don’t know when it’ll come back, but I prefer Husband. I’ll keep him, you keep Struggle, cool? ūüôā

Cool.

I love you guys.

Britt

You Never Can Tell…

Image

 

I’ve been working with a staffing company for most of the summer, and I’ve been placed at two different offices. I was a receptionist for a day on my first assignment, and then for six weeks I worked on contracts for commercials at another office. Since my last day Friday working on contracts, I’ve been placed back as a receptionist for the first company. I had only seen these people for a few hours a couple of months prior, so I was surprised to find that they all, including the president, remembered me.

Several people have walked by the desk and commented on how I’m always smiling.

That’s nice.

But yesterday, one of the guys walked over and said the following:

Guy, looking at my ring finger: Is that a wedding ring?

Me: Yes.

Guy: Are you married? When did you get married? You weren’t wearing one before.

Me: Um, yes…I’ve been married for…17 months now… and I’m pretty sure I had it on that day because I rarely take it off…

Guy: Oh wow. Okay. (walks away)

 

“I always feel like- somebody’s watching mmeeeee…”

 

 

HAPPY POST!!!!

This is what I’ve been working on for about a week. William’s 1st birthday is Monday, and I was going to post this then, but I’m kicking off the celebration weekend now instead. His party is tomorrow so I’ll probably post pictures of that¬†Monday or Tuesday.

******************************

My dear baby,

Oh my goodness. Our first lap around the sun together  is over, and I must tell you how it was for me. You have made my world such a brighter place. I cannot thank God enough for choosing me to be your mother, for giving the gift of you to me.

Today, I want to walk you through several key points in your first year, in case you forgot…

I was 8 cm dilated (don’t worry about what that means) and you and I were both sick, so we all decided a C-section would be best (or that), so you came out cone-headed anyway (but what a cute cone head you were).

Image

…but you didn’t stay a cone head for long.Image

This is pretty much all we did at the hospital. I could have stayed there for weeks just snuggling you and laying around.¬†I fed you every two hours and then we’d fall right back asleep like this. This is¬†how¬†we¬†slept at night, too. Between me and all of your visitors, you didn’t spend much time in that plastic bucket.

Our first night home from the hospital was ROUGH. None of us (not me, your daddy, Peanut, and especially not you) slept and three of us were crying by 4am (I won’t name which three ;)). Thank God Nana came over the next day so we could all sleep! I don’t have any pictures of those two days, and I think it’s for the best.

Aunt Kathryn came to visit you¬†often. She’s a pediatric nurse, so she loves babies. But I think you might be extra special. I think you’ve always felt the same about her, too.

Image

Your Great Uncle Lee came to see you when you were a week old, and you made us laugh.Image

You were a really funny newborn.

Image

You weren’t mad at me, Baby. You were yawning.

You liked to snuggle a lot, which was great because I did, too! But sometimes I was tired and had to do things so I couldn’t hold you¬†every single time¬†you cried. So I wrapped you up close to my heart¬†in a pouch, where you stayed a lot.

Image

Image

Image

You liked it there.

William, when babies are born, they don’t really know how to smile when they’re awake, but they sure smile a lot when they’re dreaming! Catching¬†a newborn baby smiling on camera is kind of like catching a leprechaun; it’s extremely difficult, and not many people can do it.

Image

Nana did.

Sometimes babies get scared because this whole world thing is pretty new and big to them, but we had your back.

Image

In your early months, you liked to sleep a lot. Your daddy does, too, so he was fine with that.

Image

You started sleeping through the night at two and a half months old! Mommy loved catching up on sleep, because she gets kinda mean and cranky without it. But not at you, Will Baby.

One morning, we got you out of your crib and brought you in the bed with us to snuggle (yes I know, we still try to do that, but you don’t like to snuggle¬†when you’re wide awake anymore), and you just popped up your head and smiled at your daddy. He caught it on camera, too.

Image

When you were almost two months old, Mommy’s friends came over to take pictures of you. You were such a good sport, you slept through most of it, but we got a few shots with you awake. Here, I think you look like baby Rhett Butler. I’ll explain that one to you later.

Image

Mommy’s friends thought it would be cute to take your diaper off for a few shots. They were adorable pictures, but we all got peed on. It’s okay, I still love you.

By the time you were three months old, you were laughing a lot. It was wonderful; you made us laugh, too.

Image

On November 11th, we dedicated you to the Lord. This is super important, William. This is Mommy and Daddy’s promise to God that we will raise you teaching you as much about¬†Him as we know, and allowing others to teach you what we haven’t figured out yet.¬†God¬†made¬†you, Baby!! And he¬†loves you so much. I know¬†you’ll¬†love Him, too. This is the only picture that was taken that day, but I love it. That man holding you¬†is your great-grandfather, William. That’s Papaw. He’s a great man, and we’re both lucky to be related to him.

IMG_20121111_201917

I’m sorry we didn’t take you to see Santa this year, Baby. You’ll meet him one day. But Grandma bought you an adorable Santa suit, so Mommy and Daddy had pictures with¬†Santa on Christmas morning!

Image

You were almost six months old when we took you to your cousin Cassie’s wedding. We missed your cousin Eleanor’s first birthday that day, which made¬†Mommy sad,¬†but sometimes that happens in life, William. Thank goodness for pictures.

Image

Oh, and baby tuxedos.

Grandma bought you Giraffe, who you still sleep with, next to Lamb. But one day we left Giraffe at church. Mommy was so sad; I looked everywhere for Giraffe! When I finally found out he was at church, I went to get him. I think you had forgotten about him at first, but then you remembered.

Image

Easter came early this year, Baby. It was March 31st. We went to church that morning and saw our friend Travis get baptized, and then we went to Grandma’s house for lunch. No Easter Bunny this year, but I bet next year you’ll meet him.

Image

Mommy likes being outdoors. So I took you to the park one day and let you swing on a real swing.

Image

I think you had a good time.

Papaw takes us out to dinner sometimes, William. We always give you lots of new foods to try.

Image

You like bread.

Now, around eight months your personality¬†and sense of humor started developing. One day, I was cooking, and I thought it was cute that you were watching me from the floor. But when I turned back around to look at you, you were¬†munching on some¬†cat food. I bet Peanut wasn’t happy about that.

Image

Silly baby, cat food is for cats!

I think we both agree that black beans are better…

Image

…and more fun.

You and Peanut don’t always see eye to eye, except when it comes to boxes.

Image

The day before you turned 11 months old, Mommy took you for your first hair cut! You were a little unsure at first, but then you did great.

Image

That weekend, you, Daddy and I went to Alabama to see Mommy’s side of the family. You always have a good time there.

Image

And your cousin Marc thinks you’re a pretty cool baby.

Image

I think you guys will get along just fine.

You are such a fun baby, William. I love hearing you laugh and talk and I LOVE when you give us that cheesy smile.

Image

Have you been working out in your crib??

You’re my super hero.

Image

Baby, I love you so much I don’t know how to put it into words. But I’ll show you. For the rest of my life, I promise¬†I’ll show you how much I love you. And I’ll make mistakes, Baby, because I’m not perfect. But just know that I will try my hardest every day to do what I believe is best for you. And sometimes you’ll think I’ve forgotten. Sometimes you’ll think I don’t love you because of the decisions I make for you or us that you may not understand. But I’m doing my best, Baby,¬†I promise. I promise.

Happy birthday, William Tifton McManus.

Image

Love,

Mommy/Mama/”Mum mum”

My Fighting Cause

**I can’t tell you how many times I edited this essay. It still seems a little jumbled to me, but life is jumbled. So whatever…
 
My nights are pretty tough now.
 
First off, I must say that I really want this blog to be a positive space, but¬†more importantly,¬†it’s a real space. I am a¬†happy person in general, and I will certainly put as much humor and positivity on here as I can, but I will also be honest if I’m not feeling that way, because I know there are¬†some people reading who can relate. Sometimes we just need to know that someone else understands our pain and feels similar feelings as we do. I’m writing this¬†post to reach those people, to try to relate, and spread some hope. We have to go through¬†pain in order¬†to grow, and that’s what this place is about: growing.
 
I’m going through the archives of Momastery.com, and yesterday I read one of Glennon’s posts that had a picture of¬†a quote written on a chalkboard:¬†“Trust Your Struggle.” That is so true, because it helps us to grow. We learn. We prepare. We grow.
 
I’m living with Struggle now. But I trust God, I trust my struggle.
 
A physical result of my struggle is¬†my severe eczema. Sounds small, but it wakes me up in the middle of the night. I itch like mad crazy. I scratch my fingers so hard that I can’t breathe while I’m scratching, because the only thing I’m focused on is the temporary¬†relief of the itch. When I finally remember to breathe, I’m nearly hyperventilating. Still scratching, huffing and puffing, moaning, nearly crying…¬†by the time¬†I¬†put a cream on my hands (I rotate between homemade natural cream, intense¬†eczema cream, and extra strength Benadryl), they’re throbbing and oozing. I’m back to sleep by the time my breathing is normal again. (I’ve been to two different doctors, three times. I’m sure I’ll try a fourth time at some point.)
 
Anyway.
 
As I’ve said before, I’ve been around addicts my entire life whether or not I was aware of it at the time.¬†It bothers me that I¬†feel like there isn’t enough awareness out there, or at least not public awareness. There are no “Walk for Recovery,” no “Fight Addiction” campaigns. There are AA and NA meetings, Celebrate Recovery, Step Studies, and other resources to help addicts who want it, but they’re all kept quiet and seem so secretive. There aren’t many¬†advertisements about these things, you have to seek them out. Why is it that addiction can’t be talked about? It’s understandable why so many people are in denial about their addictions;¬†too¬†many people¬†keep it¬†swept under the rug.¬†There are functioning addicts all around us – does that mean they don’t need help? That they’re fine?
 
Well, they can keep a job, so…
 
But what about their life? Are they really living? Can they really do the work they were put on this earth to do? What about their families?¬†Are their families really happy with them?¬† Sometimes they are… many times, though, we aren’t.
 
I think God has put me around addiction so much for a reason. I think I need to be a part of something to help. But what? How can I help someone who doesn’t want it? It’s a dangerous spot to be in, wanting to help an addict, because they’re very fickle people. They go in and out of denial about understanding they need help, and they also go in and out of acceptance of that help. And when you get them on a day they decide they most definitely do not need help, you better armor up, because they could get ugly. Addicts feel beaten up when they’re consistantly¬†confronted by someone who loves them and insists they need help, so they feel the need to defend themselves, and you are their target. Watch out. The words that could fly out of their mouths can be very harmful,¬†and it can be hard to remember that¬†it isn’t the person talking.¬†It’s the addiction.
 
With me, sometimes the words coming out of my mouth aren’t me talking, they’re¬†my anger. Anger¬†towards addiction. Anger¬†caused by a life nearly surrounded by addicts. I’m working on that.
 
The anger and the addiction need to die. Only then can the two beautiful souls inside come forth.
 
Back to the point,¬†I know¬†the only way I can help¬†is¬†to let¬†addicts be until they are ready to change. Take a step or¬†twenty-five back.¬†That’s a relatively easy thing to do if you don’t live with them. But if you live with them, and they spend all their extra money on the addiction, and then need money for essentials, it puts the non-addict in the role of enabler if you give them what they need, and they’ll continue to depend on you for that. They get money, spend it, you give them what they need until they have more money. They spend it, you give… they’re benefiting all the time, and you’re sucked dry, not only of money, but of hope. It’s a horrible hamster wheel and this hamster¬†is exhausted.
 
And that’s what gets me mad.
 
…which is why I need to step back.
 
Having said that, love is not missing in my life. As I read through Glennon’s blog, I was reminded that God is love. So I am so grateful that no matter which humans walk in¬†or out of my life, Love will always be there. I’m also grateful that Love has brought me more friends recently. I was seriously lacking in the friend department. Not the online friends, but the call-me-whenever friends and the come-over-anytime friends. Those are my favorite kind of friends, and Love knew I just needed a few of those. Thank you, Sir.
  
I often struggle knowing whether or not I’m doing the right thing regarding The Situation engulfing me right now.¬†
 
I just came across¬†Matthew 18:15-17, which¬†helped me to¬†know I’m trying.
 
I do still need to work on my tone, though.
 
It¬†says, “If your brother or sister in God’s family does something wrong, go and tell them what they did wrong. Do this when you are alone with them. If they listen to you, then you have helped them to be your brother or sister again. But if they refuse to listen, go to them again and take one or two people with you. Then there will be two or three people who will be able to tell all that happened. If they refuse to listen to them, tell the church. And if they refuse to listen to the church, treat them as you would treat someone who does not know God or who is a tax collector.”
 
I’ve done all of these steps, but it’s hard to know what Jesus means when he says, “treat them as if they do not know God or as a tax collector.” Does that mean treat them gently? Patiently?¬†Ignore them? I tend to do that with collectors…
 
Then Jesus tells Peter a story about a king forgiving a servant of his debt, and that same servant refusing to forgive another of the debt to him. Jesus says that because God forgives us, we must forgive each other. “This king did the same as my heavenly Father will do to you. You must forgive your brother or sister with all your heart, or my heavenly Father will not forgive you.”¬† …even someone who repeats the same offense over and over. Even if it’s seventy-seven times.
 
I have a feeling that much tougher battles lie ahead because I feel God preparing my heart. Sending real friends my way, giving me armor, giving me peace, a sense of calm. I know something major is coming, but I’m accepting it – because I know the more I get roughed up, the shinier I will become. The more humble I will become, the more relatable. The more I’ll be able to help others who have or will have to step through the same battle grounds. I’m going through basic¬†training right now.¬†It’s not fun, but it’s necessary for the battles ahead.
 
This training is slowly teaching me to have peace within myself. No matter what happens, Love gives me strength and peace.
 
Thank you, Love.
 
Thank you, friends.
 
Much lighter post coming soon. Have a peaceful Friday.
 
Love,
B

A Different Path

I’ve been dealing with a lot of anger lately. Anger at situations, anger at fate, anger at paths I’ve chosen, anger at decisions I’ve made, anger at decisions others have made¬†which have affected me… I’m dealing with this anger, though.¬†Still, sometimes I let it win.¬†Most times I let it win. Although, a couple of times¬†I’ve taken the victory (baby steps, remember?).
 
But there comes a point when the same situation arises over and over, and after the first 157 times when you feel like you’ve been run over by a dump truck, it starts to hurt a little less. You start to sustain less injuries and scratches from the road. You begin to develop a tougher skin as we say, which eventually evolves into¬†a shielded heart. You’re tired of being hurt, being angry, feeling resentful. You know it’s coming, so why let it¬†scratch your spirit?
 
I started feeling a bit¬†tougher¬†a couple weeks ago, and it seems that every day I get an extra¬†dose of it: an extra inch of amor. It’s not a lot, but¬†I’m beginning to feel a little more protected, a little less bothered…and¬†a little numb.
 
Numb.
 
That doesn’t even look like a real word to me. And it isn’t like me to feel that way.
 
With the coat of armor I’m developing, I feel like I can fight tougher battles.¬†I believe God is¬†giving me the strength I¬†need to¬†continue on.¬†I feel more capable of pursing the adult life I always dreamt of as a child. I could do anything I wanted, so I was told. Then life hit me, knocked me down, ran me over…but now, I think I’m toughening up. I think I’m¬†getting ready to take control of this adult life. It’ll be hard still,¬†no doubt. But I’m becoming more prepared.
 
Friends, changes are happening in my life. Changes that I will initiate.
 
A wonderful mentor of mine said last night, “Anger¬†happens for a reason; it’s a signal that we need to take action.” Time for me to stop being mad, and start taking action.
 
Be the change, right?
 
Love,
B

FINALLY

This blog has a name that fits! “Young Mom” did not fit everything I am writing, and not every post is about my adorable son. I now feel I can call my readers “YM’s” because everyone can have a young mind, but not everyone is a mom. I personally feel I have an old soul, and have been told it before, so that fits that. Finally, I feel original! ūüôā